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This is an image of the aurora of Jupiter.
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Jupiter's Aurora

Jupiter's aurora is a very powerful source of energy. It produces much more power (about a million MegaWatts) than the Earth's aurora (about 1000 MegaWatts). For comparison, a large city uses about 10,000 MegaWatts. This energy can sometimes have a significant impact on the atmosphere.

Unlike the Earth, the Jovian aurora is thought to come from two places, from the moon Io, and particles from somewhere deeper in Jupiter's magnetotail.

Scientists are still studying Jupiter's aurora to understand it completely. The streams of particles responsible for the aurora are thought to generate radio noises called "DAM". On Earth, radio noises called "Hiss" are thought to occur when particles are being forced to enter the auroral zone. Jupiter's magnetosphere is far different from the Earth's, so scientists studying the aurora of Jupiter look for DAM as proof of how the aurora is created.

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The Effect of Aurora on the Atmosphere

This figure shows the effect of the aurora on the atmosphere. When FAC's enter the atmosphere and create the aurora, they heat the atmosphere suddenly and abruptly. This creates an impulse which travels...more

Radio Signals of Jupiter

Radio noises are a signature of activity within the magnetosphere. There are many kinds of radio waves in Jupiter's environment. These are: DAM DAM is the most intense of Jupiter's radio signals. It is...more

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. Particles enter...more

A Look at Jupiter's Magnetosphere

Jupiter's magnetosphere is very special. It is the biggest thing in the entire solar system. Not only is it big enough to hold all of Jupiter's moons, but the sun itself could fit inside. It goes all...more

The Io Torus

A satellite which has an atmosphere, such as Jupiter's moon Io, and which also is inside a magnetosphere (unlike the Earth's moon), will leave a cloud of particles behind as it orbits the planet. This...more

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

Impact on Jupiter - July 2009

Anthony Wesley is an astronomer in Australia. One night in July 2009, Wesley noticed a dark spot on Jupiter that hadn't been there before. He had discovered the remains of a huge impact on Jupiter! A comet...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