The planet Jupiter has always been a conundrum for astronomers, and even today, there are more things to learn about it. Except from being the biggest and fastest spinning planet from our Solar System, as well as a world made almost entirely of gases, Jupiter has stunned astronomers due to its huge X-ray aurora, producing spectacular bursts every few minutes.
According to SciTechDaily.com, a scientific team led by University College London and Chinese Academy Sciences managed to solve the old mystery as to how it is possible for the gas giant to produce the huge burst of X-rays.
Periodic vibrations of the magnetic field lines are responsible
The research team involved in the new study found out that periodic vibrations of the magnetic field lines of Jupiter are causing the X-ray flares. The vibrations create waves of ionized gas that can send heavy ion particles to the magnetic field lines. Once they get in contact with the atmosphere, they release energy in the form of X-rays.
The YouTube channel of SciTechDaily also published the following video:
Dr. William Dunn from UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory, who is also co-author of the new study, declared as quoted by ScienceTechDaily:
We have seen Jupiter producing X-ray aurora for four decades, but we didn’t know how this happened. We only knew they were produced when ions crashed into the planet’s atmosphere.
Now we know these ions are transported by plasma waves – an explanation that has not been proposed before, even though a similar process produces Earth’s own aurora. It could, therefore, be a universal phenomenon, present across many different environments in space.
The researchers analyzed data gathered by the Juno satellite of NASA and X-ray measurements from the XMM-Newton observatory of the European Space Agency.
The new study was published in Science Advances.