Solar Winds Heat Jupiter’s Atmosphere And Cause Spectaculous Auroras

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The new telescope observations that are based on Earth show that the auroras at the poles of Jupiter heat Jupiter’s atmosphere, making it warmer than it was previously supposed, as a rapid response to the solar winds.

The new research leader, James Sinclair of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California said that in the impact solar wind have on Jupiter, we can see an extreme example of space weather and that it actually has an efficient way more in-depth than is typically seen. The paper was published in Nature Astronomy on the 8th of April.

The auroras we find at the poles of the Earth, those at the North Pole being known as aurora borealis and those at the South Pole being known as aurora australis, happened when the solar wind, energetic particles are blown out from the Sun, interact with and heat the gases in the upper atmosphere.

Solar winds cause auroras on Jupiter and heat Jupiter’s atmosphere

On Jupiter the process is not different, but, according to what the new observations show, the atmosphere of this planet gets up to three times hotter than the one of the Earth, this down into its atmosphere, and into the lower level of Jupiter’s upper atmosphere, or stratosphere.

We should understand how the constant outpouring of solar wind of the Sun interacts with planetary environments because this way we can also understand the nature of how the atmospheres of the planets and themselves evolve.

“What is startling about the results is that we were able to associate for the first time the variations in solar wind and the response in the stratosphere – and that the response to these variations is so quick for such a large area,” said a co-author and part of the observing team, Glenn Orton from JPL.


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