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Ganymede’s Aurorae Hint at an Ocean Ten Times Deeper than Earth’s

12 Mar 2015, 16:23 UTC
Ganymede’s Aurorae Hint at an Ocean Ten Times Deeper than Earth’s
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It’s long been suspected that Jupiter’s giant moon Ganymede may harbor a subsurface ocean of liquid water beneath its icy yet hard-as-rock crust, and now some ingenious observations with the Hubble Space Telescope make an even more convincing case for it! Ganymede is not only Jupiter’s largest moon but also the largest moon in the entire Solar System. […]

Illustration of Ganymede’s auroral ovals, the stability of which hint at a global underground ocean. Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI).
It’s long been suspected that Jupiter’s giant moon Ganymede may harbor a subsurface ocean of liquid water beneath its icy yet hard-as-rock crust, and now some ingenious observations with the Hubble Space Telescope make an even more convincing case for it!
Ganymede is not only Jupiter’s largest moon but also the largest moon in the entire Solar System. At 3,273 miles (5,268 km) across it’s even larger than Mercury and Pluto, and about 3/4 the size of Mars. Ganymede is the only moon found to generate its own magnetosphere, the result of a liquid iron core, which is even strong enough to hold its own within Jupiter’s powerful and far-reaching magnetic field.
Because of its magnetic field, Ganymede possesses ...

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