Interplanetary automatic station Juno, which is in orbit of Jupiter, has shed light on the origin of polar “light shows” in the atmosphere of the gas giant due to the ultraviolet spectrograph on board. This was reported by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory with reference to a publication in the AGU Advances magazine.
The so-called morning storms, first detected by the Hubble Orbiting Telescope in 1994, represent a brief but intense increase in brightness and expansion of Jupiter’s main auroral oval, an elongated curtain of light around both poles.
Before receiving data from Juno, observations of this phenomenon were possible only with side views, that is, everything that happens on the night side of the planet was hidden.
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Now the researchers have learned that these storms originate there – on the side hidden from the observer on Earth.
As Jupiter rotates, an approaching light storm moves with it to the day side, where it becomes much brighter, emitting hundreds to thousands of gigawatts of ultraviolet radiation into space.
According to scientists, the jump in brightness in this case means that such aurora emits at least 10 times more energy into the upper layers of Jupiter’s atmosphere than typical auroras.
Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, the fifth farthest from the sun. The gas giant has at least 79 satellites. The equatorial radius is 11.2 times the radius of the Earth. Volume – 1321 terrestrial, mass – 318 terrestrial, average density is approximately equal to the density of the Sun – 1.33 g / cm³. Composition: hydrogen (~ 90%), helium (~ 10%) and various compounds.
“This allowed us to better understand what is happening on the night side. The power that Jupiter has is overwhelming,” writes NASA.