Tech & Science 20-Year-Old Data Could Explain Ganymede’s Unique Magnetosphere

14:38  01 may  2018
14:38  01 may  2018 Source:   ibtimes.com

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Ganymede is unique among moons in the solar systems in that it alone has a magnetosphere . However, the existence of Ganymede ' s magnetosphere remains a bit of a mystery. Amateur mathematician partially solves 60- year - old problem. Apr 24, 2018 0.

That is, the topology of Ganymede ’ s magnetosphere could be substantially altered by the external Jovian magnetic field and the warped current sheet. For the computation of the six parameters B0r, B0j, B0x, B0y, Baz, and Bbz, the model field is fit to the Galileo data in all three components at two

a star filled sky © Provided by IBT US Since July 2016, NASA’s Juno spacecraft has often made headlines for its study of Jupiter — the largest planet in our solar system — and to a lesser degree, its moons. But a new research paper published Monday used data collected 20 years ago by the space agency’s Galileo spacecraft to draw new conclusions about the gas giant’s largest moon, Ganymede.

Larger than Mercury and Pluto, and twice as massive as the moon we are familiar with here on Earth, Ganymede is the largest natural planetary satellite in the solar system. It is thought to have a large subsurface ocean, sandwiched between two layers of ice and possibly containing more saltwater than all the water in Earth’s oceans.

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However, the existence of an ionosphere remains controversial, due to conflicting data gathered by different missions. Magnetosphere : Ganymede is unique among moons in the Solar Systems in that it alone has a magnetosphere .

Citation: Williams, D. J. (2004), Energetic electron beams in Ganymede ’ s magnetosphere , J. Geophys. Could this be the case during the G29 encounter? Although our results from previous encounters with Ganymede ’ s polar caps strongly suggest that this is not the case, the present data

What makes Ganymede truly unique is its magnetosphere. It is the only known moon to have its own magnetic field, which was discovered by Galileo soon after its arrival at the Jovian system in 1996. Over the following four years, Galileo made six flybys of Ganymede, measuring properties of the plasma in the moon’s surroundings. Some of that data was used for the new paper.

This infographic describes Ganymede's magnetosphere. © Photo: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Mary Pat Hrybyk-Keith This infographic describes Ganymede's magnetosphere. “We are now coming back over 20 years later to take a new look at some of the data that was never published and finish the story. We found there’s a whole piece no one knew about,” Glyn Collinson from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the paper, said in a statement Monday.

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The astronomy pages formerly available at this address are no longer available. They were left up, without maintenance, for almost 20 years , because there were many requests from users to do so. However, astronomy and astrophysics knowledge evolves

Magnetosphere of Ganymede . Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild (STScI). Ganymede might have a vast liquid ocean under its crusty outer shell, new data from the Hubble Space Telescope has shown. Smacks in the Face Explain Unique Looks of Two Moons. 1 of 20 .

Plasma, or electrically charged gas, was seen raining down on Ganymede, causing particles to bounce off the icy surface of the moon. The interplay between the magnetic fields of the moon and its host planet also caused strong flows of plasms between them. Usually, it is the solar wind that shapes the magnetosphere, as is the case with all the planets in the solar system, but Ganymede’s magnetic field is shaped “into a long horn-like shape that stretches ahead of the moon in the direction of its orbit” due to the plasma flow around Jupiter.

The powerful solar wind doesn’t affect Ganymede because it is cocooned within the larger magnetosphere of Jupiter. This shielding property of the magnetosphere protects planets from a lot of harmful space radiation and is therefore an important factor in sustaining life as we know it. Earth’s magnetic field plays this role too, along with causing phenomena like orienting compass needles in a north-south direction and the display of auroras near the polar regions.

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It would also explain how the Ribbon can extend across both the southern and northern hemispheres even though the elds have been found to Ganymede ’ s plasma and eld environment, characterizing what, to this time, is a unique example of a magnetosphere embedded in a sub-Alfvénic ow.

Ganymede ' s magnetosphere is most likely made in a manner much like Earth's, due to convection in the moon's liquid iron core. Callisto's landscape is therefore among the oldest on record, aged some four billion years. Will We Really Find Alien Life in 20 Years ?

Since Ganymede has a magnetosphere, it has auroras as well, and they are unusually bright. Ganymede’s auroras, like on Earth, occur at both its north and south polar regions. The precise location of the aurora zones on the moon, however, was confirmed with data from the Hubble Space Telescope.

In this illustration, the moon Ganymede orbits the giant planet Jupiter. Ganymede is depicted with auroras, which were observed by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. © Photo: NASA/ESA In this illustration, the moon Ganymede orbits the giant planet Jupiter. Ganymede is depicted with auroras, which were observed by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Galileo’s Plasma Subsystem instrument (PLS) had also observed an explosive event called magnetic reconnection taking place around Ganymede. It refers to the magnetic lines in a field getting tangled up, snapping and reconnecting, leading to the strong flows of plasms between Jupiter and its largest moon. This event is thought to contribute to making the moon’s auroras particularly bright. There could also be a link to the subsurface ocean to the direction of the auroras.

“There are these particles flying out from the polar regions, and they can tell us something about Ganymede’s atmosphere, which is very thin. It can also tell us about how Ganymede’s auroras form,” Bill Paterson, a co-author of the study at NASA Goddard, who served on the Galileo PLS team during the mission, said in the statement.

The paper, titled “New Results From Galileo's First Flyby of Ganymede: Reconnection‐Driven Flows at the Low‐Latitude Magnetopause Boundary, Crossing the Cusp, and Icy Ionospheric Escape,” appeared online in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

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