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Jupiter’s Highest-Energy Light Ever Detected

Credits

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with NASA’s Universe of Learning partners: Caltech/IPAC, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
 
Video imagery:
  • Juno spacecraft image of Jupiter: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill
  • NuSTAR detection with graphic overlay: NASA/JPL-Caltech
  • Jupiter with illustrated magnetic field: NASA/JPL/SwRI

Writer: Leah Ramsay
Designer: Leah Hustak, Joseph Olmsted
Science review: Dr. Quyen Hart
Education review: Jim Manning
Music from Music for Non-Profits
Transcript

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Text, News from the Universe
 
February 25, 2022. Jupiter's highest-energy light ever detected
 
NASA's NuStar space observatory has solved a decades-old mystery: where are Jupiter's high-energy X-rays?
 
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Nu Star confirmed high-energy X-rays for the first time, emitted from Jupiter's polar regions.
 
The X-rays are the highest-energy light ever detected from a Solar System planet, other than Earth.
 
The X-rays were created by bremstrahlung emission: fast-moving particles from the moon Io run into Jupiter's charged atmosphere, slowing down and losing energy in the form of X-rays.
 
The process by which Jupiter's magnetic fields accelerate the particles to such high speeds is still unknown, an exciting new chapter in the investigation of high-energy X-rays.
 
This news was brought to you in part by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA