Powerful magnetic storms occur regularly on the Solar System’s largest planet Jupiter. Magnetic storms generate auroras that are stunning to watch through a telescope. Now, a team of astronomers has observed a strange violent solar storm that made the auroras burn eight times brighter than usual. The storm was so bright that it emitted hundred times more energy than the Earth’s northern lights.
NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory was used to monitor and study the auroras. Researchers from the University college of London also looked for the coronal mass ejection that emits massive energy in the form of super-hot plasma at a very high speed of millions of miles per hour.
After analysing the data, researchers found that solar storm generated on the Jupiter back in 2011 lead to the high-energy X-ray emissions in Jupiter’s auroras and further studying it will help in gaining more knowledge about Earth’s magnetic field.
“Comparing new findings from Jupiter with what is already known for Earth will help explain how space weather is driven by the solar winds interacting with Earth’s magnetosphere,” said co-author Graziella Branduardi-Raymont, an astrophysicist at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory. He further added the study will help in developing a better understanding on how the sun affects atmosphere of exoplanets which will eventually enable scientists to determine whether an exoplanet located in goldilocks zone is habitable or not.
The study is still in its nascent stages and further analysis will reveal the key relation between sun, solar storms and how it affects the magnetosphere of Jupiter. American space agency NASA’s Juno spacecraft will start orbiting the largest planet of our solar system on July 4. Juno spacecraft will give scientists detailed results on the magnetic field and auroras generated on Jupiter.
The study appeared in the journal of Geophysical Research – Space Physics.