The Auroras of Jupiter

The Auroras of Jupiter


The magnificent, dazzling auroras produce breathtaking views in the regions of Alaska, Northern Europe, Canada and other areas situated near the northern and southern poles. These colorful, bright lights appear in twisting patterns thus, creating wonderful views. These intense, discrete auroras are due to the fact that electrons accelerate to the atmospheric layers with high energies.

However, the most surprising findings emerged when NASA sent the Jupiter-orbiting Juno spacecraft in the year 2016. It was found that aurora is a distinguished phenomenon on Jupiter too. It is to be noted that Jupiter is the oldest and the largest planet in our solar system. The scientists of NASA observed that this gas giant is associated with the most powerful auroras in our solar system.

As expected and via the data aggregated from the ultraviolet spectrograph and energetic-particle detector instruments, pulsating energy swirl around Jupiter in large amounts thus, producing these distinct auroras. The energy is produced due to the acceleration of electrons towards the Jovian atmosphere thereby, producing the potential difference of 400,000 electron-volts which is about 10-40 times higher than the energy produced on the earth’s atmosphere.

However, the mystery of the distinct auroras on the planet Jupiter remains unsolved as these auroras are seldom seen and are not prominent as the discrete auroras of the Earth. According to the leading researcher, Barry Mauk from the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory at Laurel in Maryland these auroras are due to some kind of turbulent acceleration of electrons and as the process of auroral generation takes place, it reaches a peak thereby, increasing their strength to such an extent that the process of auroral generation becomes unstable and a new process takes over thus, producing new aurora. Thus, these auroras have a drastically high intensity. However, since the phenomenon of turbulent acceleration is unclear, the complete phenomenon of auroral generation remains a mystery.

The research is continued under NASA so as to unveil the mysterious phenomenon behind the strong auroras of Jupiter which are observed sometimes. According to NASA, these findings will contribute to understand the space weather environment in terms of Jupiter, the gas giant of our solar system.