Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Jupiter`s Electric Aurora

26.03.2002


The planet Jupiter has spectacular rings of auroras around each pole but until now scientists have not been able to explain how they form. All auroras are caused by energetic charged particles crashing into the top of the atmosphere and making it glow. In the Earth’s auroras, these particles come from the Sun in a flow of charged particles known as the solar wind. But this can’t account for Jupiter’s auroras because the solar wind does not reach to the region where the brightest are found. Space physicists from the University of Leicester have now proposed a new theory of how Jupiter’s auroras are formed.



An enormous disk of plasma gas rotates around Jupiter, flowing outwards from the moon Io. They believe that a large-scale electric current system (stream of charged particles) flows between the planet’s upper atmosphere and this disk of gas. They have also calculated that in order for such large currents to flow between the atmosphere and the disk, electrons must be strongly accelerated between these regions, causing the bright ring of auroras around each pole when they hit the top of the atmosphere and make it glow.

Professor Stan Cowley, of the University of Leicester said: "The force associated with this electric current causes the plasma gas to spin at the same rate as the planet as it flows outwards. Our calculations suggest that the total current in this giant circuit is 100 million amps. The power transferred from the atmosphere to the plasma disk is about a thousand million megawatts or about 20,000 times the peak electricity demand in the UK!"


The brightness of the aurora depends upon the intensity of the electron beams that hit the top of the atmosphere. Scientists had previously developed a number of theories about how the auroras are formed, but they underestimated this brightness by factors of between a hundred and a thousand compared to the measurements taken!

Julia Maddock | alphagalileo
Further information:
http://pparc.ac.uk

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Columbia engineers create artificial graphene in a nanofabricated semiconductor structure
13.12.2017 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science

nachricht Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation
12.12.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gecko adhesion technology moves closer to industrial uses

13.12.2017 | Information Technology

Columbia engineers create artificial graphene in a nanofabricated semiconductor structure

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Research reveals how diabetes in pregnancy affects baby's heart

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>