Science Findings

08.20.20

Surprising New Features Associated With the Moon Io Seen in Jupiter’s Aurora

Juno infrared observations of the Jovian aurora surprised scientists by showing mysterious new details related to Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io.  Particles from Io’s volcanoes become charged creating a torus around Jupiter.  Some of the particles travel up Jupiter’s magnetic field and crash into Jupiter’s atmosphere to make auroral emission. Juno discovered that the torus splits into two streams and that the aurora show mysterious reflections behind Io “footprint”.

Electrons from the equatorial magnetosphere travel along Jupiter's magnetic field into Jupiter's atmosphere creating auroral emission. A signature known as "lo footprint", come from particles that connect lo to Jupiter.

Particles from lo's volcanoes create a torus around Jupiter. Auroral emission from this torus tail somehow splits into two as lo orbits Jupiter.