The Northern Lights of Jupiter

by bobbyjoe in Space

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Both Jupiter and Saturn have magnetic fields much stronger than Earth’s (Uranus, Neptune and Mercury are also magnetic), and both have large radiation belts. Aurora has been observed on both, most clearly with the Hubble Space Telescope.

These auroras seem, like Earth’s, to be powered by the solar wind. In addition, however, Jupiter’s moons, especially Io, are also powerful sources of auroras. These arise from electric currents along field lines (“field aligned currents”), generated by a dynamo mechanism due to relative motion between the rotating planet and the moving moon. Io, which has active volcanism and an ionosphere, is a particularly strong source, and its currents also generate radio emissions, studied since 1955. – wiki

Credit: All images are provided by NASA and the ESA

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1 Comment

  1. headshot photographer los angles says:

    those pictures of Jupiter auroras look awesome in size the auroras look larger than the earth by far!
    We used to live in Denver, Colorado. In the northern part of the city,when conditions are right, you can look north(preferably from a high vantage point) and see the northern lights from a distance) .
    The display on Jupiter, however, just seems fantastically huge!!!!
    Thanks for sharing!!!! Todd

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