Science Findings

06.02.21

Juno Discovers High Energy Heavy Ions During High Latitude Traversals of Electron Belt

Juno observes >100MeV/nucleon heavy ions during high latitude traversals of the electron belt –  the most energetic particles Juno sees.

Juno is the first spacecraft to have explored this environment.
 Juno imaging detector momentarily gored by horns of intense radiation belt 

Juno’s star camera (SRU) detects these ions as extremely intense noise signatures - 100X more intense than that from penetrating electrons - in images collected by Juno’s Radiation Monitoring Investigation. Analysis suggests a population of GeV heavy ions with atomic mass no greater than that of silicon.

Juno’s prime mission allows this high energy ion environment to be fully mapped and aids the study of the origin of these particles.
GeV ion signature (red) and MeV electron signatures (blue) from an SRU image collected at high latitude during Juno’s Perijove 3.

Credit: (Becker et al., 2021, JGR: Planets, https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JE006772 )

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