Stellar wind heats the atmosphere of Jupiter

The sun, like all stars, emits its constituent substances, in which there are so-called stellar wind. It was already known that they play a key role in the formation of new stars, and now scientists have discovered another effect — the atmospheric warming such enormous planets like Jupiter. This suggests that the stellar wind has a much greater impact on the planet than previously thought. Scientists came to the conclusion that the increase in temperature arises from the fact that the solar wind interacts actively with the atmosphere of the planet.


When the solar wind reaches the surface of Jupiter, the atmosphere and the temperature of the planet change in just one day. The heat map visible bright spots on the top and bottom of Jupiter is a region of high temperature, where there are auroras associated with changes in the atmosphere.

A heat map of the planet were made using the Subaru telescope located in Hawaii and managed by the National astronomical Observatory of Japan. In particular, the picture was taken with two instruments: mid-infrared camera and spectrograph COMICS, which is capable of recording thermal images of the stratosphere.

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New discovery surprised scientists, because Jupiter is so large that the solar wind, it would seem, could not so easily spread. According to Glenn Orton of the jet propulsion Laboratory of NASA, the first time they were able to relate the changes of the solar wind and the reaction in the stratosphere.

Scientists believe that the solar wind not only affects the temperature of the atmosphere of Jupiter, but other planets. Perhaps this discovery will shed light on other mysteries of space objects, and even reveal the secrets of the formation of the Earth.

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