Scientists are now closely studying Jupiter's "Northern Lights" for the first time in history. The planet's high-energy X-ray aurora, triggered by solar storms, was recently observed by a team of astronomers at the University College of London.
Observational data collected with the Chandra X-Ray Observatory of NASA showed that a massive solar storm bombarded the planet with high energy particles and electromagnetic radiation. The storm was so intense that X-rays were ejected from the ionization of Jupiter's atmosphere.
The magnetic field of the planet diverted the solar storm to the planet's North Pole, allowing the phenomenon to be observed by the Juno spacecraft now nearing the planet.
The lights generated by the interactions between the solar wind and Jupiter's magnetic field have very high energy--around eight times more luminous than Earth's very own aurora borealis.
Lead author William R. Dunn said they want to understand the power struggle between the solar wind and the magnetosphere of Jupiter.
Gathering the data would not be possible without NASA's Juno spacecraft. The spacecraft, launched in 2011, was designed to investigate the origin of Jupiter, thereby providing some insights on how the solar system formed.
Juno will arrive at Jupiter on July 4 this year.
Collaboration between NASA's Chandra X-ray space observatory and the European Space Agency's X-ray space observatory will enable the scientists to collect and compare data with high precision.
According to the research supervisor, Prof. Graziella Branduardi-Raymont, the new data from Jupiter will be compared to the known data for Earth. This will help scientists understand how space weather is powered by the solar wind.
The study could also provide insights on how other magnetic objects in the observable universe interact with high energy radiations.
The findings were recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.
© 2021 NatureWorldNews.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.