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With Explore the Planets, investigate the planets, their moons, and understand the processes that shape them. By G. Jeffrey Taylor, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.
This is an image of the aurora of Jupiter.
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NASA

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 from currents carrying 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 create radio noises called "DAM". On Earth, it is "Hiss" which is 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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