New indirect evidence betrayed the existence of geysers in Europe

US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — Jupiter’s fourth largest moon, Europe, is covered in thick, cracked ice crust. A lot of evidence indicates that deep below it can be hidden an ocean of liquid water, which is heated by tidal forces in the gravitational field of a nearby and giant planet. Perhaps, sometimes this moisture rises through cracks to the surface and erupts with powerful geysers, as it happens on Saturn’s satellite Enceladus.

A few years ago, their existence was indirectly confirmed by the Hubble Space Telescope, however, geysers have not yet been able to directly observe geysers. This is not surprising: it is almost impossible to consider such processes from the Earth, and only a few devices reached the Jupiter system, and not all of them came close to Europe. The Galileo probe, which spent eight years here, was not adapted for such observations.

However, a high-energy particle detector EPD was operating on board the apparatus. During flights over Europe, the device recorded a mass of protons that hold the powerful magnetic field of Jupiter. Europe is continuously moving through their “cloud”, and by the behavior of these particles Galileo was able to explore the magnetic field of the satellite itself.

A strange “failure” was discovered over the northern polar regions, where there were practically no protons. Then astronomers associated this effect with the satellite itself, which could temporarily shield the flow of protons. But the authors of a new article published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters , once again analyzed these old data and pointed to another reason: geysers.

Hans Huybrighs and his colleagues simulated the behavior of protons in the vicinity of Europe, discovering that the picture recorded by the Galileo probe may arise due to the interaction of protons with the satellite’s atmosphere. It itself is too sparse, but geyser emissions could temporarily create such an effect over the northern regions.

Colliding with water molecules, protons must take away their electron and become neutrally charged. In this state, they are no longer detected by the EPD detector and themselves “do not feel” the magnetic fields of Europe and Jupiter, freely leaving the system of a giant planet and its many satellites. Scientists hope that future missions to study this grandiose system will confirm their conclusions by directly fixing the geysers of Europe.


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