Journal Highlights

Can Large Electric Fields Power Jupiter’s X-ray Auroras?

Research Spotlight—

Electric fields with megavolt potentials in Jupiter’s polar region accelerate particles to 100 times more energy than Earth’s typical auroral particles, a new study finds.

Jupiter’s magnetic field is some 20,000 times stronger than Earth’s, thanks to its spinning, metallic hydrogen interior. As charged particles spiral along this field and collide with atoms and molecules in the atmosphere, they release energy in the form of light. This produces the most brilliant auroras in our solar system: celestial light shows similar to Earth’s aurora borealis but hundreds of times more powerful.

On Earth, auroral activity is driven by the solar wind, which bombards the magnetic field with fast-moving particles and causes geomagnetic storms. In contrast, Jupiter’s auroral activity is thought to be mainly controlled by internal drivers, thanks to its fast rotation, its strong magnetic field, and the geologically active moon Io spewing material at a rate of about 1 ton per second into Jupiter’s space environment....more

-- Emily Underwood, Freelance Writer,

Article Category
Research Letters
Space Sciences

Energetic particle signatures of magnetic field‐aligned potentials over Jupiter's polar regions

G. Clark, B. H. Mauk, D. Haggerty, C. Paranicas, P. Kollmann, A. Rymer, E. J. Bunce, S. W. H. Cowley, D. G. Mitchell, G. Provan, R. W. Ebert, F. Allegrini, F. Bagenal, S. Bolton, J. Connerney, S. Kotsiaros, W. S. Kurth, S. Levin, D. J. McComas, J. Saur, P. Valek
First Published:
| Vol:
44,
Pages
8703–8711
| DOI:
10.1002/2017GL074366
Open Access

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