Artist's Concept of Aurorae and Ganymede

Artist's Concept of Aurorae and Ganymede

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Fast Facts
News release ID: STScI-2015-09
Release Date: Mar 12, 2015
Image Use: Copyright
About this image

This is an artist's concept of the moon Ganymede as it orbits the giant planet Jupiter. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope observed aurorae on the moon that are controlled by Ganymede's magnetic fields. Two auroral ovals can be seen over northern and southern mid-latitudes. Hubble measured slight shifts in the auroral belts due to the influence of Jupiter's own immense magnetic field. This activity allows for a probe of the moon's interior. The presence of a saline ocean under the moon's icy crust reduces the shifting of the ovals as measured by Hubble. As on Earth, Ganymede's aurorae are produced by energetic charged particles causing gases to fluoresce.

Artwork, Jupiter, Moons, Planets, Solar System


Illustration Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI);
Science Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Saur (University of Cologne, Germany)