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A laboratory model for deep-seated jets on the gas giants

Abstract : The strong east–west jet flows on the gas giants, Jupiter and Saturn, have persisted for hundreds of years. Yet, experimental studies cannot reach the planetary regime and similarly strong and quasi-steady jets have been reproduced in numerical models only under simplifying assumptions and limitations. Two models have been proposed: a shallow model where jets are confined to the weather layer and a deep model where the jets extend into the planetary molecular envelope. Here we show that turbulent laboratory flows naturally generate multiple, alternating jets in a rapidly rotating cylindrical container. The observed properties of gas giants’ jets are only now reproduced in a laboratory experiment emulating the deep model. Our findings demonstrate that long-lived jets can persist at high latitudes even under conditions including viscous dissipation and friction and bear relevance to the shallow versus deep models debate in the context of the ongoing Juno mission.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - 11:15:14 AM
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Simon Cabanes, Jonathan M. Aurnou, Benjamin Favier, Michael Le Bars. A laboratory model for deep-seated jets on the gas giants. Nature Physics, Nature Publishing Group, 2017, 13, ⟨10.1038/nphys4001⟩. ⟨hal-01478957⟩

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