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Juno finds Jupiter’s powerful auroras ‘defy earthly laws of physics’

14 Sep 2017, 06:14 UTC
Juno finds Jupiter’s powerful auroras ‘defy earthly laws of physics’
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Auroras at Jupiter’s north pole, as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope. Juno’s observations show that they are much more powerful than previously thought. Photo Credit: ASA/ESA/J. Nichols/University of Leicester
Although NASA’s Cassini mission is now coming to an end at Saturn, the Juno spacecraft is continuing to orbit Jupiter, sending back an incredible amount of science and stunning images of the largest planet in our Solar System. The results have scientists excited, since not only are they providing more insight and adding to what we know about Jupiter, they are also showing how the planet is a lot different than had been assumed. This includes the planet’s polar auroras, which seem to behave different from would be expected, based on what is known about auroras on Earth.
“Almost nothing is as we anticipated,” Juno’s principal investigator Scott Bolton had previously told WIRED. “But it’s exciting that Jupiter is so different than we assumed.”
The data that Juno has continued to collect since then confirms and builds upon those findings. A lot of previous theories about Jupiter have been shown to be wrong, as often happens in any mission such as this, but that is a good thing.
Unearthly light ...

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