Although there had been prior detections of X-rays from Jupiter with other X-ray telescopes, no one expected that the sources of the X-rays would be
located so near the poles.
The X-rays are thought to be produced by energetic oxygen and sulfur ions that are trapped in Jupiter's magnetic field and crash into its atmosphere.
Before Chandra's observations, the favored theory held that the ions were mostly coming from regions close to the orbit of Jupiter's moon, Io.
Credit: NASA/CXC/SWRI/G.R.Gladstone et al.
This image of Jupiter shows concentrations of auroral X-rays near the north and south magnetic poles.
While Chandra observed Jupiter for its entire 10-hour rotation, the northern auroral X-rays were discovered to be due to a single 'hot spot'
that pulsates with a period of 45 minutes, similar to high-latitude radio pulsations previously detected by NASA's Galileo and Cassini spacecraft.
Chandra's ability to pinpoint the source of the X-rays has cast serious doubt on this model.
Ions coming from near Io's orbit cannot reach the observed high latitudes.
The energetic ions responsible for the X-rays must come from much
further away than previously believed.
One possibility is that particles flowing out from the Sun are captured in the outer regions of Jupiter's magnetic field,
then accelerated and directed toward its magnetic pole.
Once captured, the ions would bounce back and forth in the magnetic field, from Jupiter's north pole to south pole in an oscillating motion
that could explain the pulsations.
Invisible Powerful Wave Shaking Up Jupiter's Jet Streams
New movies of Jupiter are the first to catch an invisible wave shaking up one of the giant planet's jet
streams, an interaction that also takes place in Earth's atmosphere and influences the weather.
"This is the first time anyone has actually seen direct wave motion in one of Jupiter's jet streams," says Simon-Miller, the paper's lead author.
Abnormal Star Discovered In The 'Forbidden Zone'
A team of astrophysicists from Germany, France and Italy have discovered in the constellation Leo is an old star.
The star's existence raised at once many questions for scientists.
The object is definitely not as its "contemporaries" that appeared immediately after the Big Bang event.
Auroras On Alien Worlds Can Be Stunningly Beautiful
Auroras on Earth are stunning to watch, but have you ever wondered what they might look like on other planets?
We took a journey to some alien worlds to find out what auroras look like there. There is no doubt that extraterrestrial
auroras can be very beautiful on other places in the Universe, and sometimes this light show can be very unique.
Never Ending Winter In Our Solar System
There's no lack of ice in our solar system.
Frozen water can be found almost everywhere: the poles of Mercury, Earth, the moon and Mars; the rings and icy satellites of the outer planets;
and in comets that come whizzing past.
Winter in our Solar system is not as we know it on our planet.
Thermonuclear Burning In A Neutron Star Detected For The First Time!
It's a very important discovery!
For the first time, an international team of scientists have detected all phases of thermonuclear burning in a
neutron star, located close to the center of the galaxy in the globular cluster Terzan 5.
Astronomical Mystery - Tremendous Explosion And Appearance Of Odd Rings
Twenty five years ago, on 1987 February 23, the brightest supernova of modern times was observed in the Large Magellanic Cloud.
The collision occurred at speeds near 60 million kilometers per hour and shock-heats the ring material causing it to glow.
Over time, astronomers have watched and waited for the expanding debris from this tremendous stellar explosion to crash into previously expelled material...