News Release Archive:

News Release 77 of 1051

March 12, 2015 11:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2015-09

NASA's Hubble Observations Suggest Underground Ocean on Jupiter's Largest Moon


Image: Artist's Concept of Aurorae and Ganymede

Artist's Concept of Aurorae and GanymedeSTScI-PRC2015-09a Artist's Concept

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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.

Image Type: Artwork

Illustration Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)

Science Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Saur (University of Cologne, Germany)


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