Comparison of the Deep Atmospheric Dynamics of Jupiter and Saturn in Light of the Juno and Cassini Gravity Measurements

Yohai Kaspi, Eli Galanti, Adam P. Showman, David J. Stevenson, Tristan Guillot, Luciano Iess, Scott J. Bolton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The nature and structure of the observed east-west flows on Jupiter and Saturn have been a long-standing mystery in planetary science. This mystery has been recently unraveled by the accurate gravity measurements provided by the Juno mission to Jupiter and the Grand Finale of the Cassini mission to Saturn. These two experiments, which coincidentally happened around the same time, allowed the determination of the overall vertical and meridional profiles of the zonal flows on both planets. This paper reviews the topic of zonal jets on the gas giants in light of the new data from these two experiments. The gravity measurements not only allow the depth of the jets to be constrained, yielding the inference that the jets extend to roughly 3000 and 9000 km below the observed clouds on Jupiter and Saturn, respectively, but also provide insights into the mechanisms controlling these zonal flows. Specifically, for both planets this depth corresponds to the depth where electrical conductivity is within an order of magnitude of 1 S m−1, implying that the magnetic field likely plays a key role in damping the zonal flows. An intrinsic characteristic of any gravity inversion, as discussed here, is that the solutions might not be unique. We analyze the robustness of the solutions and present several independent lines of evidence supporting the results presented here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number84
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


  • Cassini
  • Gravity science
  • Juno
  • Jupiter
  • Planetary atmospheres
  • Saturn

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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