More flux tubes anyone?
I would have to say with 95-98% certainty: "Yes! Absolutely!"
In fact, the evidence is indirect but quite compelling once you think about it. I've got an upcoming Thunderblog that goes into more detail, but I'll see if I can boil it down to the barest of bones...
In the case of the Thunderblog, my main focus is Enceladus (I think it's in a very similar interaction with Saturn). But it also digresses to discuss the Jovian system as part of the argument...
(The Hot Poles of Enceladus)
http://thunderbolts.info/tpod/2005/arch ... eladus.htm
The temperature profile of Enceladus was quite unexpected. Just like Wal's predictions about Saturn's [wintry] north polar hot spot, experimentum crucis
. Scientists were surprised when the "cold" anti-sunward pole actually turned out to be just as hot as its sunward sibling. No surprise from the EU camp.
Anyway, the argument about the Jovian system is pretty straightforward.
(The Io Dynamo)
The path of the space probe Voyager 1 was designed to check out this dynamo, by flying close to where its currents were expected to flow. It did so on March 5, 1979, and its magnetometer very clearly detected the signature of a current of about a million amperes.
Since 1979 (a few months before I was even born, no less!), they've known that Io and Jupiter are embroiled in a million Amp current.
(The Moon Io: A Seething Interior and Active Surface)
http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr161/lect ... ns/io.html
As Io moves around its orbit in the strong magnetic field of Jupiter and through this plasma torus, a huge electrical current is set up between Io and Jupiter in a cylinder of highly concentrated magnetic flux called the Io Flux Tube. The Flux Tube has a power output of about 2 trillion watts, comparable to the amount of all manmade power produced on Earth. It is responsible for bursts of radio frequency radiation long detected on Earth.
More recently, they seem to have also intimated that the flux tube interaction rates a a piddly 2 terawatts.
What, no petawatts?
(Satellite Footprints Seen in Jupiter Aurora)
http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archiv ... es/2000/38
The aurora resembles the same phenomenon that crowns Earth's polar regions. But this Hubble image, taken in ultraviolet light, also shows the glowing "footprints" of three of Jupiter's largest moons: Io, Ganymede, and Europa ... These emissions, produced by electric currents generated by the moons, flow along Jupiter's magnetic field
Hubble has intimated that A) The auroral footprints are caused by electric currents. B) The electric currents flow along magnetic field lines ("Birkeland currents
" or "field-aligned currents"). C) Not just Io has a footprint. At a minimum, Ganymede and Europa have similar footprints in Jupiter's aurora.
Common effects like this should have common cause! If Io's embroiled in an electrical current with Jupiter along a "flux tube," the other moons with similar auroral footprints must be embroiled in similar flux tubes! NASA just needs to look
for the signatures... I can all but guarantee they'll find them, if they haven't already!
(New, Unexpected Spots Found on Jupiter)
http://www.universetoday.com/2008/03/18 ... n-jupiter/
The rotation of Jupiter causes the spiral shape of the aurora: Io is 'connected' in one spot, and as Jupiter rotates it draws a glowing swirl of UV light around the pole. Astronomers had previously seen spots 'downstream' from the main spot caused by the interaction with Io, but these new images show a faint leading spot in front of the main one, essentially "upstream" in the flow of particles that causes the phenomenon.
A team from the University of Liège in Belgium discovered the spots in ultraviolet Hubble images taken of Jupiter. They found that when there were faint leading spots in one of the hemispheres, there were multiple spots in the other. The researchers propose that a beam of electrons is being transferred from one hemisphere to another, causing the fainter spots.
The image below illustrates the different mechanisms creating the auroral spots. The large torus around Jupiter is the plume of sulfur created by Io. The blue line between Io and Jupiter is where it is connected by the ionized sulfur, drawn in and funneled by Jupiter's magnetosphere. The red lines illustrate the possible electron beams connecting the poles, which create the newly-discovered spots.
Not only does Io have an auroral footprint in one hemisphere, it appears to be part of an electrical connection between BOTH
hemispheres. Scientists now theorize an electron beam (an electron current; as opposed to a conventional current
) is interacting with Io as it travels from one hemisphere of Jupiter to the other. Where does the circuit close, if this is an ongoing current and not simply a transitive event like lightning?
In any event, it's a pretty simply deductive step to say that 1) Io and Jupiter are in electrical interaction. 2) Io has footprints in Jupiter's auroras. 3) Other moons also have extremely similar footprints in Jupiter's Aurora. 4) Most likely, those moons are involved in just such an electrical interaction with Jupiter as well!
A very similar interaction is probably happening between Saturn and Enceladus, as well. Hence it's anomalous temperature profile with warmer spots at the poles, controverting (falsifying!) prior theories predicted a significantly different temperature profile.