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Auroras on Jupiter Seen Spawning Massive and Extreme Heat Waves

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When the solar wind collides with the Earth’s magnetosphere, we get short but dazzling light shows called the aurora borealis. Surprisingly, scientists discovered that On Jupiter’s gas giant, the aurora borealis It appears to be causing massive heat waves on a planet scale.

The observations help solve one of our solar system’s most perplexing mysteries: why some of the gas giant planets in deep space, including Jupiter and Saturn, are hotter than expected when they’re icy cold.

And hot in the case of the buyer does not mean a little lukewarm.

A team led by James O’Donoghue of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, has produced maps of Jupiter’s upper atmosphere that helped pinpoint an unexpectedly hot region with temperatures of 700 degrees Celsius (1,292 degrees Fahrenheit) covering about 10 Earth diameters.

“Thanks to these maps, we showed that Jupiter’s aurora borealis was a potential mechanism that could explain these temperatures,” O’Donoghue said in a statement.

The team’s data revealed a remarkable heat wave that originated just below Jupiter’s northern lights and was sweeping toward the planet’s equator, moving at thousands of miles per hour.

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While the aurora borealis on Earth are intermittent and associated with periods of high solar activity, Jupiter’s aurora borealis are permanent and continuous but with variations in intensity. They heat an area around the planet’s poles and the winds then distribute the warmth around the planet.

“While the aurora borealis constantly transfers heat to the rest of the planet, these heat wave events represent an important additional source of energy,” O’Donoghue said.

The results were presented this week at the 2022 Europlanet Science Conference in Spain.

Researchers hope the new discovery will provide a better understanding of the inner workings of gas giant planets and how they stay warm amid the frigid depths of space.

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