Data from NASA’s Juno spacecraft revealed faint aurora options probably triggered by charged particles coming from the sting of Jupiter’s large magnetosphere. (Image credit score: NASA/SWRI/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/V. Hue/G. R. Gladstone/B. Bonfond)
Juno mission has detected new auroral emissions on Jupiter which seem to ripple over the planet’s poles.
The Ultraviolet Spectrograph (UVS) on the Juno spacecraft captured this glowing phenomenon, which is characterised by faint
ring-shaped emissions that develop quickly over time at speeds between 2 and 4.8 miles per second (3.3 and seven.7 kilometers per second). Researchers from the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), the place Juno’s UVS instrument was constructed, counsel these auroral emissions are triggered by charged particles coming from the sting of Jupiter’s large magnetosphere, in response to an announcement from the institute. “We think these newly discovered faint ultraviolet features originate millions of miles away from Jupiter, near the Jovian magnetosphere’s boundary with the solar wind,” Vincent Hue, lead writer of the research,
said in the statement. “The solar wind is a supersonic stream of charged particles emitted by the sun. When they reach Jupiter, they interact with its magnetosphere in a way that is still not well understood.”
Related: Glowing ‘dawn storm’ auroras that blaze in Jupiter’s morning skies are born in darkness
Much like on Earth, auroras on Jupiter are linked to charged particles throughout the planet’s magnetosphere. However, Jupiter’s magnetosphere is about 20,000 occasions stronger than Earth’s, which implies the gas giant can deflect incoming
solar winds from as much as 4 million miles (6 million km) away.
“The high-latitude location of the rings indicates that the particles causing the emissions are coming from the distant
goal=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Jovian magnetosphere, near its boundary with the solar wind,” Bertrand Bonfond, co-author of the research from Belgium’s Liège University, mentioned within the assertion.
The charged particles recorded by Juno’s UVS instrument look like emanating from the outer reaches of the magnetosphere, the place plasma from the solar wind interacts with the Jovian plasma. In flip, this interplay could spur the ring-like options, often called Kelvin-Helmholtz instabilities, which may journey alongside
Jupiter’s magnetic field lines. Alternatively, the newly detected auroral characteristic could also be the results of dayside magnetic reconnection occasions, throughout which interplanetary magnetic fields converge, rearrange and reconnect, in response to the assertion.
A false-color visualization of Jupiter’s faint, ring-like aurora options increasing over time. (Image credit score: NASA/SWRI/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/V. Hue/G. R. Gladstone)
“Despite decades of observations from Earth combined with numerous in-situ spacecraft measurements, scientists still do not fully understand the role the solar wind plays in moderating Jupiter’s auroral emissions,” Thomas Greathouse, co-author of the SwRI research, mentioned within the assertion. “Jupiter’s magnetospheric dynamics, the motion of charged particles within its magnetosphere, is largely controlled by Jupiter’s 10-hour rotation, the fastest in the solar system. The solar wind’s role is still debated.”
Therefore, the researchers argue that additional analysis is required to completely perceive the processes that produce these newly detected ring-like emissions. With NASA’s
Juno mission recently extended until 2025, the researchers hope to review Jupiter’s auroral options in even larger element.
Their findings have been
published March 9 within the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics.
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