Mystery Solved: Planet Jupiter’s X-ray Aurora Flares

Jupiter has a light show just like ‘Aurora Borealis and ‘Aurora Australis’ at the south and north pole of our earth. The beautiful dancing aurora flares are seen over the magnetic poles.  Jupiter is 5th on the scale of the hottest planets in the solar system.

Ever wondered what causes aurora lights?  A recently published article of the journal Nature Communications suggests that the natural light show starts when disturbances on the sun pull on Earth’s magnetic field. That creates cosmic undulations known as Alfvén waves that launch electrons at high speeds into Earth’s atmosphere where they create the aurora. It is known that the aurora in the upper atmosphere is caused by the collision of the electrically charged particles with the gaseous particles in the earth’s atmosphere in the magnetic field. Researchers say it is a cyclic activity with a time period of 11 years approximately. The next peak of aurora lights will be observed in 2024.


(Photo : NASA Hubble / WikiCommons)

Researchers from UCL and the Chinese Academy of Sciences in collaboration, have explained their results of Jupiter’s light show (Jupiter’s aurora flares).  UCL and Chinese Academy of Sciences researchers have published their findings in the Science Advances, under the title, “Revealing the source of Jupiter’s x-ray auroral flares”. Jupiter’s magnetic field and its periodic vibrations cause the X-ray flares. The magnetic field waves produce ionized gas radiations (plasma waves) that cause heavy particles to move in the magnetic field. The movement of these heavy particles along the magnetic field lines releases a huge amount of energy as the ions reach the planet’s atmosphere, manifesting visible X-ray formations.

The magnetic field of Jupiter is 20000 times stronger than our planet. Thus compared to auroras of our own planet, the Jupiter auroras appear to be chronic. Jupiter’s Aurora flares have been discovered for the past 40 years. But, the reason behind these aurora flares has been unknown ever since.  A team of researchers from UCL and the Chinese Academy of Sciences found that the mechanism of formation of ion aurora on all the planet systems is the same although the temperature, magnetic field, and all other parameters differ in magnitude.

Also read: NASA’s groundbreaking deep space atomic clock just passed its first test

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The opinions expressed in our published works are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions of Asian Science Letters or its Editors. Information contained in our published works has been obtained by Asian Science Letters from authors believed to be reliable in their field.

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