Aurora borealis near Jupiter

Aurora borealis near Jupiter

Hundreds of millions of kilometers away, astronomers, taking advantage of the eclipse, were able to observe the glow of the aurora borealis on four moons of Jupiter: Io, Europa, Callisto and Ganymede. The technique involved observing these moons each time they passed behind the giant planet, and then reappeared on the other side. “The aurora borealis is always present when viewing an eclipse,” Californian planetary scientist Catherine R.D. Claire confirmsCo-author of two studies published simultaneously.

Unlike Earth, which owes its aurora to particles ejected by the Sun that collide with its magnetic field, Jupiter’s moons owe their aurora to one of them, Io.

Io is the moon with the most violent volcanic activity in all of the solar system. These are volcanic ejecta that interact with sunlight, become electrically charged, and are captured by Jupiter’s magnetic field. Some “bounce” in the thin layers of gas surrounding the moons causes these flares. Someone who can stand on Io – Safe from these multiple blasts. You will see more colors Of the three moons, I read one of the studies, because of the variety of elements that volcanoes release.

While this discovery has the potential to fire artists’ imaginations, it may also provide an opportunity for other planetary scientists to study the chemical composition of these thin layers of gas – too thin to be called atmospheres.

Image: Io in front of Jupiter, seen by the Voyager 2 probe in 1979 / Jet Propulsion Laboratory / NASA

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About the Author: Irene Alves

"Bacon ninja. Guru do álcool. Explorador orgulhoso. Ávido entusiasta da cultura pop."

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