Scientists unravel the mystery of auroras on Jupiter

(ORDO NEWS) — American and European scientists have managed to link the processes occurring in the magnetic field of Jupiter’s largest moon Ganymede with the auroras on Jupiter itself. An article about this was published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

On November 8, 2020, NASA‘s Juno robotic interplanetary probe flew through an intense stream of electrons moving along lines of magnetic fields connecting Ganymede with auroral trails on Jupiter and reaching for fluorescent flares near the poles of the giant gaseous planet.

The researchers, led by scientists from the Southwestern Research Institute, used data from two Juno-based instruments, JADE, an instrument for studying Jupiter’s auroras, and UVS, an ultraviolet spectrograph, to trace the influence of charged particle populations on the corresponding manifestations of auroras. auroras, thus explaining the mechanism of the appearance of the latter.

“Each of Jupiter’s largest moons creates its own auroras at Jupiter’s north and south poles,” said lead author Vincent Hugh. “One or another aurora trail is magnetically connected to the corresponding satellite – it is a kind of magnetic leash leading from the moon to Jupiter itself.”

Just like on Earth, Jupiter sees glows near the polar regions as charged particles falling out of its vast magnetosphere interact with molecules in its upper atmosphere.

However, the source of Jupiter’s auroras, which are much more intense than Earth’s, are mainly not magnetic storms on the Sun, but the largest satellites of the giant planet, primarily Ganymede – this is the only satellite in the solar system that has its own magnetic field.

Ganymede’s mini-magnetosphere interacts with Jupiter’s vast magnetosphere, in the process accelerating electrons moving along magnetic field lines ending at the gas giant.


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