Magnetic Reconnection Between Ganymede And Jupiter Is Confirmed By Scientists

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In June of 2021, the Juno spacecraft from NASA made a near approach to Ganymede, the biggest moon of Jupiter, in order to investigate possible signs of magnetic recombination. Using data from Juno, a group led by the Southwest Research Institute investigated the magnetic fields as well as the electron and ion particles that were produced when the magnetic field lines of Jupiter and Ganymede fused, broke, and reoriented themselves, causing the charged particles in the area to become heated and accelerated.

Only Ganymede, among all of the moons in our solar system, has its own unique magnetic field. The explosions in Jupiter’s magnetosphere are caused by Ganymede’s magnetic field lines colliding with and then reconnecting with Jupiter’s field lines. The powerful physical process known as magnetic reconnection transforms the magnetic energy that has been stored into kinetic energy & heat. At the magnetopause, which serves as the border between Ganymede’s mini-magnetosphere and Jupiter’s huge magnetosphere, there is an interaction between the two magnetospheres.

The findings of these studies provide even more credence to the hypothesis that magnetic connexion at Ganymede’s magnetopause might act as a driver of dynamic events in the immediate space surroundings around this moon of Jupiter.

Enhanced electron fluxes were seen by the Jovian Auroral Distributions Experiment (JADE), which was built by the SwRI and carried onboard Juno. These electron fluxes included accelerated electrons that were aligned with the magnetic field. It is believed that the reconnection that Juno saw is connected to the production of Ganymede’s aurora.

During reconnection near the Earth’s magnetopause, the accelerated electrons recorded by JADE are comparable to those detected by NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale (MSS) probe. Researchers have shown that the process of magnetic reconnection occurs in the same way everywhere, including on Ganymede and Earth, despite the great disparities between the two.

During the Juno flyby, the Ultraviolet Spectrograph (UVS), which is headed by the SwRI, saw Ganymede’s auroral emissions. These emissions are thought to be caused by electrons that have been accelerated as a result of magnetic reconnection.

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