Jupiter Emits Incredible Light Show While Strange Sounds Are Captured By Juno Spacecraft

NASA's Juno spacecraft has finally reached Jupiter.

04/07/2016 12:23

As NASA's Juno spacecraft approaches Jupiter after its five-year epic journey through our solar system, both Hubble and Juno have been giving us an incredible insight into the gas giant.

Hubble has captured a stunning full profile image of Jupiter showing off its rarely seen before aurora. 

Everything about Jupiter is big, so it should come as no surprise then that Jupiter's aurora is actually bigger than planet Earth.

In fact to give you just some idea of scale, the Great Red Spot (seen in the lower right-hand side) is a giant storm so massive that it alone could contain two-three Earths. 

Jupiter's aurora is hundreds of times more powerful than the northern lights we see here on Earth.

These permanently glowing light shows are created by vast quantities of high energy particles being drawn in by Jupiter's magnetosphere and then colliding with the gas.

As NASA's Juno spacecraft enters orbit in the early hours of Tuesday 5th July it will start studying Jupiter's enormous aurora as well as the powerful magnetosphere that makes the planet one of the most dangerous objects in our solar system.

Another way we can detect Jupiter's invisible 'force field' is through sound.

Juno has actually captured the sound of solar winds hitting Jupiter's magnetosphere at a million miles per hour.

This sound is known as a bow shock.

The bow shock is analogous to a sonic boom,” William Kurth of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, lead co-investigator for the Waves investigation, said in a NASA news release. “The solar wind blows past all the planets at a speed of about a million miles per hour, and where it hits an obstacle, there’s all this turbulence.”

In this case, the obstacle is Jupiter’s magnetosphere, the largest in the Solar System.

“If Jupiter’s magnetosphere glowed in visible light, it would be twice the size of the full moon as seen from Earth,” Kurth said.

Using the data collected by Juno, NASA was then able to convert it into an audio stream which you can hear above.

Because Jupiter produces so much radiation Juno's orbit will be peculiar, allowing it to 'dive' closer, at some instances coming within just 3,000 miles of the huge planet.

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