Jupiter’s Brilliant X-Ray Aurora Glimmers During Solar Storm

jupiter-aurora-solar-storms

Scientists have unveiled images of a brilliant X-ray aurora on Jupiter triggered by a massive solar storm slamming into the solar system’s largest planet. In the color-enhanced images, the purple areas show emissions of X-rays, which are invisible to the human eye, with the white areas showing the strongest emissions.

A new study published this week in the Journal of Geophysical Research determined the unique X-ray auroras are caused by coronal mass ejections, which are giant solar storms characterized by strong winds.

The solar storms produce an aurora on Jupiter that is eight times brighter than normal and hundreds of times more energetic than the northern lights on Earth, according to researchers.

A solar storm compresses Jupiter’s magnetosphere — the area where the planet has the greatest magnetic force — and shifts its boundary inward by a million miles, according to researchers. An interaction at the boundary is what scientist believe creates the incredible emissions captured in a 2011 composite photo.

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SOURCE: ABC News, Alyssa Newcomb