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    Geometric clusters of cyclones churn over Jupiter’s poles

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Jupiter’s poles are blanketed by geometric clusters of cyclones and its atmosphere is deeper than scientists suspected.

    These are just some of the discoveries reported by four international research teams Wednesday, based on observations by NASA’s Juno spacecraft circling Jupiter.

    One group uncovered a constellation of nine cyclones over Jupiter’s north pole and six over the south pole. The wind speeds exceed Category 5 hurricane strength in places, reaching 220 miles per hour.

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    The massive storms haven’t changed position much — or merged — since observations began.

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    Team leader Alberto Adriani of Italy’s National Institute for Astrophysics in Rome was surprised to find such complex structures. Scientists thought they’d find something similar to the six-sided cloud system spinning over Saturn’s north pole.‘‘We were wrong about it,’’ he said via e-mail.

    Instead, they found an octagon-shaped grouping over the north pole.

    associated press