Sensitive detectors helped astronomers discover strange zippers in unexpected places on Jupiter, as well as to explain their unusual nature.

American scientists analyzed data from spacecraft Juno, which came closest to Jupiter, and reported the strange storms of low intensity in the upper atmosphere of a gas giant. Stuffed with sensitive detectors probe could see lightning, light signals which were 2 orders of magnitude lower than from outbreaks in the deep layers of the atmosphere, which used to see the scientists.

The work of Heidi Becker, NASA employee, and two representatives of Cornell University in new York: Jonathan Lunin and doctoral student Yury Aglyamova, published in the journal Nature, shows that the number of weaker flares exceeds the number of bright lightning, previously discovered by the spacecraft Voyager 1, Galileo and New Horizons.

A less intense flash before interfered with an opaque atmosphere of Jupiter, so without sensitive detectors Juno would be impossible to detect the light from them even at high altitudes. Storm activity in these layers of the atmosphere has surprised scientists, because the water droplets have to freeze in these areas. It turned out that the antifreeze is ammonia: the substance does not allow the water to completely turn into ice. The collision of water droplets, ammonia and ice particles lead to a separation of electric charge and the electrification of clouds, and that is the reason for the unusual lightning on Jupiter.

Ammonium thunderstorms is not similar to any process going on the Ground, and completely change the views of researchers about Jupiter and its atmosphere. “We didn’t expect to see lightning in the upper atmosphere. The opening immediately gave rise to more questions than answers, and showed that Jupiter has a much more complex atmosphere than expected,” — said Aglamov.