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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 a drawing of the magnetosphere of Jupiter.
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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.

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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