Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Jupiter's magnetospheree

6:11 PM |

The stronger the magnetic field, the larger the magnetosphere. Some 20,000 times stronger than Earth's magnetic field, Jupiter's magnetic field creates a magnetosphere so large it begins to avert the solar wind almost 3 million kilometers before it reaches Jupiter. The magnetosphere extends so far past Jupiter it sweeps the solar wind as far as the orbit of Saturn.

Like Earth's magnetosphere, many of the charged particles trapped in Jupiter's magnetosphere come from the solar wind; however, Jupiter has an extra source of particles that other planets do not have. Jupiter's volcanically active moon, Io, provides a substantial portion of charged particles to Jupiter's magnetosphere.

These charged particles can spiral along the planetary magnetic field lines into the upper atmosphere and around the magnetic poles. When these energetic particles, usually electrons, collide with atoms and molecules in the atmosphere they transfer energy. This energy is then released, sometimes in the form of visible light. This is the same process that produces the different colored auroras we see on Earth. Jupiter also has auroras on its north and south poles.

Io and the other Galilean moons are affected by Jupiter's magnetosphere. The charged particles trapped around the planet occasionally hit the surfaces of the moons, releasing some atoms and molecules which sometimes create a thin atmosphere around the moon.


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