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:
| DOI:
Open Access


Recent Highlights Across AGU Publications Earth & Space Science News

View more Earth and space science news from Eos

Download the App

New Android App Available!

Google Play Store Logo

Download the Geophysical Research Letters app from the Google Play Store

iOS App for iPad or iPhone


Download the Geophysical Research Letters app from the Apple store

AGU Career Center

AGU Unlocked

Featured Special Collection

A Census of Atmospheric Variability from Seconds to Decades 

The atmosphere varies naturally on all length scales from millimeters to thousands of kilometers, and on all time scales from seconds to decades and longer.  This special collection of Geophysical Research Letters synthesizes and summarizes that variability through a phenomenological census.  The collection brings together some of the most influential and definitive papers to have been published in this journal in recent years.  The topics covered include turbulence on time scales of seconds and minutes, gravity waves on time scales of hours, weather systems on time scales of days, atmospheric blocking on time scales of weeks, the Madden–Julian Oscillation on time scales of months, the Quasi-Biennial Oscillation and El Niño–Southern Oscillation on time scales of years, and the North Atlantic, Arctic, Antarctic, Pacific Decadal, and Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillations on time scales of decades.  The collection is accompanied by a Commentary article, which provides an authoritative, concise, and accessible point of reference for the most important modes of atmospheric variability.

A Census of Atmospheric Variability from Seconds to Decades