The automatic interplanetary station Juno (Juno) has discovered a new strange glow on Jupiter. A phenomenon similar to the northern lights is observed over the poles of the planet.
An ultraviolet spectrograph on the Juno recorded the glow. The annular phenomenon is rapidly expanding from time to time at a speed of 3.3 to 7.7 kilometres per second.
According to the Texas Southwest Research Institute, these auroras are caused by charged particles emanating from the edge of Jupiter’s massive magnetosphere, which created the spectrograph for Juno.
The study’s lead author, Vincent Hue, noted:
We think that this newly discovered faint ultraviolet glow originates millions of miles from Jupiter, near the edge of the magnetosphere with the solar wind. The solar wind is a supersonic flow of charged particles emitted by the sun. When they reach Jupiter, they interact with its magnetosphere in a way that is still not fully understood. “
Just like on Earth, Jupiter’s aurora is associated with charged particles in the planet’s magnetosphere. However, Jupiter’s magnetosphere is about 20,000 times stronger than Earth’s, which means that the gas giant can deflect the solar wind up to 6 million km.
Juno was launched by NASA’s US Aeronautics and Space Administration to explore Jupiter on August 5, 2011. In the summer of 2016, she achieved her goal and entered Jupiter’s orbit.