Search Results for: Jupiter magnetic pole

Jupiter’s weird magnetic field

New data from Juno has revealed that Jupiter’s magnetic field acts like it has three poles, one at each pole and another near the equator.

If Earth’s magnetic field resembles that of a bar magnet, Jupiter’s field looks like someone took a bar magnet, bent it in half and splayed it at both ends. The field emerges in a broad swath across Jupiter’s northern hemisphere and re-enters the planet both around the south pole and in a concentrated spot just south of the equator, researchers report in the Sept. 6 Nature.

“We were baffled” at the finding, says study coauthor Kimberly Moore, a graduate student at Harvard University.

They think the multiple poles are a result of the complexity of Jupiter’s inner core, which likely does not have the same kind of organization as a rocky terrestrial planet.

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Jupiter’s North Pole, as seen in infrared by Juno

The Juno science team has released an animation that shows, in infrared and in three dimensions, the storms of Jupiter’s north pole.

The link has three videos. One shows the gas giant’s surprisingly irregular magnetic field, as found by Juno. The first and third show a low and a high fly-over of the north pole, in infrared. I have embedded both fly-overs below the fold. First watch the high fly-over, which is the first video. This will make the low fly-over more understandable as it flies over the eight smaller storms that encircle the pole’s central vortex.
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First science results from Juno

The Juno science team today released their first research results since the spacecraft entered orbit around Jupiter in July 2016.

“Although many of the observations have terrestrial analogs, it appears that different processes are at work creating the auroras,” said SwRI’s Dr. Phil Valek, JADE instrument lead. “With JADE we’ve observed plasmas upwelling from the upper atmosphere to help populate Jupiter’s magnetosphere. However, the energetic particles associated with Jovian auroras are very different from those that power the most intense auroral emissions at Earth.”

Also surprising, Jupiter’s signature bands disappear near its poles. JunoCam images show a chaotic scene of swirling storms up to the size of Mars towering above a bluish backdrop. Since the first observations of these belts and zones many decades ago, scientists have wondered how far beneath the gas giant’s swirling façade these features persist. Juno’s microwave sounding instrument reveals that topical weather phenomena extend deep below the cloudtops, to pressures of 100 bars, 100 times Earth’s air pressure at sea level.

“However, there’s a north-south asymmetry. The depths of the bands are distributed unequally,” Bolton said. “We’ve observed a narrow ammonia-rich plume at the equator. It resembles a deeper, wider version of the air currents that rise from Earth’s equator and generate the trade winds.”

Juno is mapping Jupiter’s gravitational and magnetic fields to better understand the planet’s interior structure and measure the mass of the core. Scientists think a dynamo — a rotating, convecting, electrically conducting fluid in a planet’s outer core — is the mechanism for generating the planetary magnetic fields. “Juno’s gravity field measurements differ significantly from what we expected, which has implications for the distribution of heavy elements in the interior, including the existence and mass of Jupiter’s core,” Bolton said. The magnitude of the observed magnetic field was 7.766 Gauss, significantly stronger than expected. But the real surprise was the dramatic spatial variation in the field, which was significantly higher than expected in some locations, and markedly lower in others. “We characterized the field to estimate the depth of the dynamo region, suggesting that it may occur in a molecular hydrogen layer above the pressure-induced transition to the metallic state.”

What I want to see is a depth map showing where Jupiter’s atmosphere ends and its solid core begins. I expect Juno will eventually be able to give us a first glimpse.

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Past Appearances

Past appearances prior to 2015 can be found here.

  • Radio: September 27, 2019, 6:05-6:30 pm (Central), Pratt on Texas with Robert Pratt, aired on 790-AM KFYO in Lubbock, 1470-AM KYYW in Abilene, and 1290-AM KWFS in Wichita Falls.
  • Lecture: September 25, 2019, late afternoon (Eastern). for local middle school children for the AIAA Northwest Florida Section at Elgin Air Force Base, Florida. Subject: Unknown Stories from Space: Astronaut adventures that did not reach the press.
  • Lecture: September 25, 2019, noon (Eastern), for the AIAA Northwest Florida Section at Elgin Air Force Base, Florida. Subject: How Apollo 8 won the 1960s space race and changed the world.
  • Radio: September 24, 2019, the John Batchelor Show, syndicated nationally. Also available here and here.
  • Radio: September 20, 2019, the John Batchelor Show, syndicated nationally. Also available here and here.
  • Radio: September 17, 2019, the John Batchelor Show, syndicated nationally. Also available here and here.
  • Radio: September 13, 2019, the John Batchelor Show, syndicated nationally. Also available here and here.
  • Radio: September 10, 2019, the John Batchelor Show, syndicated nationally. Also available here and here.
  • Radio: September 6, 2019, the John Batchelor Show, syndicated nationally. Also available here and here.
  • Radio: September 4, 2019, the John Batchelor Show, syndicated nationally. Also available here and here.
  • Radio: September 2, 2019: 12:10-12:50 am (Central), WCCO-AM, with Steve Thomson, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Also available here.
  • Radio: August 22, 2019, the John Batchelor Show, syndicated nationally. Also available here and here.
  • Radio: August 20, 2019, the John Batchelor Show, syndicated nationally. Also available here and here.
  • Radio: August 19, 2019, 6:05-7:00 pm (Central), Pratt on Texas with Robert Pratt, aired on 790-AM KFYO in Lubbock, 1470-AM KYYW in Abilene, and 1290-AM KWFS in Wichita Falls.
  • Radio: August 16, 2019, the John Batchelor Show, syndicated nationally. Also available here and here.
  • Radio: August 14, 2019, the John Batchelor Show, syndicated nationally. Also available here and here.
  • Radio: August 14, 2019, 6:05-6:30 pm (Central), Pratt on Texas with Robert Pratt, aired on 790-AM KFYO in Lubbock, 1470-AM KYYW in Abilene, and 1290-AM KWFS in Wichita Falls.
  • Radio: August 9, 2019, the John Batchelor Show, syndicated nationally. Also available here and here.
  • Lecture: August 6, 2019 evening. Given as part of annual AIAA Young Professionals Networking/Movie Night event held at the Alamo Drafthouse theater in Littleton, Colorado. Subject: Unknown Stories from Space: Astronaut adventures that did not reach the press
  • Radio: December 28, 2018: 11:10-11:30 pm (Central), WCCO-AM, with Steve Thomson, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota.
  • Radio: December 21, 2018, the John Batchelor Show, syndicated nationally. Also available here and here.
  • Radio: December 19, 2018, 6:05-7:00 pm (Central), Pratt on Texas with Robert Pratt, aired on 790-AM KFYO in Lubbock, 1470-AM KYYW in Abilene, and 1290-AM KWFS in Wichita Falls. Also available here and here. Topic: The 50th anniversary of Apollo 8.
  • Radio: December 18, 2018, the John Batchelor Show, syndicated nationally. Also available here and here.
  • Radio: December 14, 2018, the John Batchelor Show, syndicated nationally. Also available here and here.
  • Lecture: December 13, 2018, 7 pm (Eastern). The Niagara section of the AIAA. Topic: The Apollo 8 mission to the Moon.
  • Lecture: December 12, 2018, 7 pm (Eastern) at theNiagara Aerospace Museum.. Topic: The Apollo 8 mission to the Moon.
  • Radio: December 11, 2018, the John Batchelor Show, syndicated nationally. Also available here and here.
  • Radio: December 22, 2015: 11:10 pm (Central), WCCO-AM, with Steve Thomson, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota.
  • Television: December 23, 2015, 4:15-4:20 pm (Mountain), CNN-Today, to discuss various lunar Earthrise images, past and present.
  • Radio: December 15, 2015, 7:00-9:00 pm (Pacific), The Space Show with David Livingston, webcast here.
  • Radio: November 27, 2015, 5:00-6:00 pm (Central), Pratt on Texas with Robert Pratt, aired on 790-AM KFYO in Lubbock, 1470-AM KYYW in Abilene, and 1290-AM KWFS in Wichita Falls.
  • Radio: May 22, 2015, 6:00 pm (Central), Pratt on Texas with Robert Pratt, aired on 790-AM KFYO in Lubbock, 1470-AM KYYW in Abilene, and 1290-AM KWFS in Wichita Falls.

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