Jupiter is the largest moon, Ganymede generates powerful plasma waves

Jupiter’s moon Ganymede. A new study shows that the electromagnetic waves in the vicinity of Ganymede are very powerful.


There are a number of wild waves flow around Jupiter, the largest moon, but don’t break out your surfboard just yet, because these powerful waves are made of plasma.

Around the planets such as the Earth, there is a plasma, one of the four types of matter. Plasma is created when an ionized gas is electrically conductive and can be formed and controlled by electric and magnetic fields, which also exist around the Earth. The earth’s plasmasphere is a region of dense, cold plasma. When the Earth, the electric and magnetic fields that fluctuate, they push and pull on the particles in the plasma, making waves. Just as a strong wind can create waves in a body of water, with a maximum variation of the electric and magnetic fields can lead to the chorus waves in the plasma in the vicinity of objects such as the Earth.

By the moving plasma particles around, these waves help to balance the number of energetic particles near the Earth, as particles come out and are lost from the near-Earth environment. These waves, known as plasma waves, are not unique to the Earth. Other planets and objects with the surrounding plasma and magnetic and electric fields with plasma waves. A type of plasma wave, known as a chorus wave, causes electrons in the plasma to accelerate. Chorus waves have their name because, when converted to sound, listeners compared it to a chorus of birds chirping. [Photos of Ganymede, the Largest Moon of Jupiter]

In a new study, a team of scientists under the leadership of Yuri Shpritsof the German research centre for Geosciences of the University of Potsdamexplored the chorus waves around other planets in our solar system, and even some of their moons. They find that the chorus waves around Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, are a million times more powerful than the average around the planets they studied. The team examined powerful chorus waves in the vicinity of Jupiter’s moon Europa, according to a statement.

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“It is a very strange and puzzling phenomenon to show that a moon with a magnetic field can create a huge intensification in the force of the waves,” Shprits said in the statement.

Chorus waves are detected in the space around the Earth, but they are not as strong as the waves on Jupiter,” Richard Horne, a researcher with the British Antarctic Survey and co-author of the study, said in the statement. “Even if [a] small part of these waves from the immediate vicinity of Ganymede, they will be able to speed up particles to very high energies and, ultimately, producing very rapid electrons in Jupiter’s magnetic field.”

The understanding of these waves can significantly help scientists to understand how particles are accelerated and lost in the space, according to the study.

The impact of chorus waves on Earth can be seen easily, depending on where you are, because they are responsible for the famous northern (and southern) lights, the auroras are mainly seen from the north Pole and the south Pole.

The study of these plasma waves can be especially helpful for maintaining and protecting spacecraft chorus waves are responsible not only for the northern lights, but they also help in the creation of high-energy “killer” electrons around the Earth, researchers said in the statement. These killer electrons can damage spacecraft, and researchers are concerned about what effect they can have on spacecraft on journey to Jupiter.

This work was detailed yesterday (Aug. 7) in the journal Nature Communications.

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