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This picture is from a model of how the earth's magnetic field is generated.
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Glaztmeir and Roberts of LANL

The Generation of Jupiter's Magnetosphere

Magnetospheres are generated with 1.) magnetic materials and 2.) with motions within the magnetic material.

The terrestrial planets generate magnetospheres within the iron cores at the center. This leads to dipole-shaped, rounded magnetic fields. Jupiter has almost no iron core, certainly not a large enough one to be responsible for it's enormous magnetic field.

The magnetic material of Jupiter is found within the liquid metallic shell found within Jupiter. Motions within that shell produce magnetic field. Because these currents are generated within a shell, they produces a magnetic field with a much stronger quadrupole-component. The quadrupole component contributes to making Jupiter's magnetic field more pointed and bullet-shaped.


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The Liquid Hydrogen Layer

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An Overview of the Parts of Jupiter's Magnetosphere

Jupiter's magnetosphere is very pointed and bullet-shaped, as shown in this picture, because of the nature of how it is created. The magnetosphere has many parts, such as the bow shock, magnetospheath,...more

An Overview of Jupiter's Magnetosphere

Jupiter's magnetosphere is a unique object in the solar system. It is the biggest object in the entire solar system. Not only is it big enough to contain all of Jupiter's moons, but the sun itself could...more

Detecting Planetary Magnetism

A magnetometer is an instrument for measuring magnetic fields. Many spacecraft carry magnetometers to measure the magnetic fields around planets they orbit or fly by. When a spacecraft takes such measurements,...more

The Magnetic Poles of Uranus

The planet Uranus has an odd magnetic field. The planet's magnetic poles are nowhere near the geographic poles (as defined by the spin axis) of Uranus. A portion of the magnetic field of Uranus is a dipole...more

The Io Torus

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Jupiter's Plasmasphere

Jupiter's magnetosphere is practically all plasmasphere. Jupiter's magnetosphere is filled with plasma. Most of the plasma comes from the donut-shaped cloud (torus) of material from Io. Besides ions and...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA