Revealing the source of Jupiter’s x-ray auroral flares

Yao, Zhonghua; Dunn, William R.; Woodfield, Emma E. ORCID:; Clark, George; Mauk, Barry H.; Ebert, Robert W.; Grodent, Denis; Bonfond, Bertrand; Pan, Dongxiao; Rae, I. Jonathan; Ni, Binbin; Guo, Ruilong; Branduardi-Raymont, Graziella; Wibisono, Affelia D.; Rodriguez, Pedro; Kotsiaros, Stavros; Ness, Jan-Uwe; Allegrini, Frederic; Kurth, William S.; Gladstone, G. Randall; Kraft, Ralph; Sulaiman, Ali H.; Manners, Harry; Desai, Ravindra T.; Bolton, Scott J.. 2021 Revealing the source of Jupiter’s x-ray auroral flares. Science Advances, 7 (28), eabf0851. 9, pp.

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Jupiter’s rapidly rotating, strong magnetic field provides a natural laboratory that is key to understanding the dynamics of high-energy plasmas. Spectacular auroral x-ray flares are diagnostic of the most energetic processes governing magnetospheres but seemingly unique to Jupiter. Since their discovery 40 years ago, the processes that produce Jupiter’s x-ray flares have remained unknown. Here, we report simultaneous in situ satellite and space-based telescope observations that reveal the processes that produce Jupiter’s x-ray flares, showing surprising similarities to terrestrial ion aurora. Planetary-scale electromagnetic waves are observed to modulate electromagnetic ion cyclotron waves, periodically causing heavy ions to precipitate and produce Jupiter’s x-ray pulses. Our findings show that ion aurorae share common mechanisms across planetary systems, despite temporal, spatial, and energetic scales varying by orders of magnitude.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 2375-2548
Date made live: 12 Jul 2021 15:04 +0 (UTC)

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