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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.