Shop Windows to the Universe

The Winter 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist includes a variety of educational resources, ranging from astronomy to glaciers. Check out the other publications and classroom materials in our online store.
This is a drawing of the magnetosphere of Jupiter.
Click on image for full size
Windows to the Universe original artwork

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 also fit inside. It extends past the orbit of Saturn, and Saturn itself sometimes passes through it. If it could be seen at night, it would be as big in the sky as the full moon.

Jupiter's magnetosphere is not only big but enormously powerful as well. Enough power is generated within the magnetosphere to manage 10 major cities on Earth. This power is dissipated in the atmosphere via the Jovian aurora.

The source of the magnetosphere is the magnetic field generated in the interior of Jupiter. Unlike the Earth, Jupiter's magnetic field has a strong quadrupole component. This component affects the shape and structure of Jupiter's magnetic field.

The motion of particles in the magnetosphere is both similar and different from those of particles in the Earth's magnetosphere due to Jupiter's giant plasmasphere and the donut-shaped cloud (torus) which circulates with Io inside the magnetosphere.

Jupiter's magnetosphere is a powerful radio source, just as the Earth's magnetosphere is. Radio emissions and other waves which come from Jupiter include whistler waves, chorus and hiss.


Last modified June 3, 2003 by Randy Russell.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes fun classroom activities for you and your students. Issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist are also full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...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

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

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

Radio Signals of Jupiter

Radio signals are a signature of activity within the magnetosphere. There are many kinds of radio waves in the Jupiter environment. These are: DIM - the name for radio waves which have a wavelength of...more

The Liquid Hydrogen Layer

The first liquid layer inside Jupiter, immediately under the atmosphere, is the liquid hydrogen layer. The hydrogen atmosphere becomes thicker and thicker, a fog with more and more liquid hydrogen droplets,...more

The Atmosphere of Europa

The Galileo mission discovered an amazing thing. Europa has its own atmosphere, although it is very, very thin. This atmosphere is created when fast moving molecules in Jupiter's magnetosphere hit the...more

Galileo

The Galileo spacecraft was launched on October 19, 1989. Galileo had two parts: an orbiter and a descent probe that parachuted into Jupiter's atmosphere. Galileo's primary mission was to explore the Jovian...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF