Decades after decades of research have discovered how somewhat supernatural curiosities take place here on Earth. One who is still afraid? The polar lights, sometimes called aurora substorms on our planet as well. And now a new study published in AGU Advances from the University of Liège researchers found that one of our neighboring planets has a similar light show. The team spotted the dawn storm of Jupiter, which had bright and wide lights in its aurora.
After tracking the storms on the night side of Jupiter for their study, they saw that its aurora arc had become a bright aurora screen. The ultraviolet lights on this planet actually are huge. The team has discovered everywhere from hundreds to thousands of gigawatts (produced by a modern nuclear reactor) pushed into space as Jupiter turns from its night to dawn. This occurs over a five to 10-hour time period. The result? This brightness creates about 10 times more energy in the upper atmosphere of the planet.
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“This is a real game changer,” said Bertrand Bonfond, a researcher at the University of Liège and lead study writer. “We finally found out what happens at night, where the dawn storms are born.” While both Jupiter and Earth produce light spectacles because they create magnetic fields that contain charged particles, our planet’s magnetosphere springs from charged particles that flow from the sun (called the solar wind). Jupiter’s magnetosphere, on the other hand, receives its particles from its volcanic moon Io. They are then ionized and trapped around the planet.
The team realizes that these findings connect the two planets like never before. “When we looked at the entire dawn storm sequence, we couldn’t help but notice that the dawn storm auroras at Jupiter are very similar to a kind of terrestrial auroras called substorms,” said Zhonghua Yao, the study’s co-author and scientific collaborator at the University of Liège. . With their new research, they can now investigate even further into the subject and aid their understanding of planets in the galaxy. “Even if their engine is different, showing for the first time the link between these two very different systems allows us to identify the universal phenomena of the peculiarities specific to each planet,” Bonfond said.