Probing Jupiter's interior via its gravitational field

Keke Zhang, University of Exeter. Part of the fluids and MHD seminars series.

One of the most fascinating features in the solar system is the fast, alternating zonal winds on Jupiter. The winds have been measured for decades but their generation/maintenance remains highly controversial. The problem is now attracting intensive attention because of the ongoing Juno mission: launched in 2011, Juno spacecraft arrived at Jupiter in the summer of 2016 with the new observational data coming out soon. An objective of the Juno mission is to probe how far the zonal winds penetrate into the Jovian interior, a property closely associated with the origin of the winds, and how its internal convection and dynamo operate by accurately measuring their effects on Jupiter's gravitational field.

The accurate gravity measurements provided by the Juno spacecraft, together with accurate theoretical and numerical modeling, may enable the resolution of this long-term scientific puzzle. We shall present/discuss the mathematical theory and numerical model for interpreting Jovian gravitational signature in connection with its non-spherical shape, interior structure, and internal fluid motion.


Keke Zhang, University of Exeter