Nov 26, 2019
Jupiter generates its own power.
On August 5, 2011 NASA launched the Juno mission to Jupiter. It is currently analyzing Jupiter’s massive plasmasphere, along with its electromagnetic field. Jupiter radiates more energy in the infrared than it receives from the Sun, so astronomers think that it is making electricity through an “internal dynamo”, in the same way they think Earth generates its field. However, processes occurring on Jupiter are nothing like those on Earth.
Jupiter is an electrically active world, far more so than mission simulations predicted. For example, a 5 gauss magnetic field was assumed to exist, but when Juno entered orbit, measurements as high as 9 gauss were found. Just how much electromagnetic energy exists in Jupiter’s environment can be educed by realizing that Earth’s magnetic field measures only .5 gauss. Jupiter’s field is also irregular, the magnetic field is substantially different in the planet’s northern and southern hemispheres.
That extreme electromagnetism creates a magnetosphere around Jupiter that is so powerful that it reaches beyond Saturn, over 600 million kilometers away. Extreme radiation, similar to the Van Allen radiation belts, surrounds Jupiter, except that the radiation from Jupiter would be instantly fatal.
Recently, Juno discovered jet-streams on the gas giant planet running farther down into its atmosphere than previously thought: 3000 kilometers deep. Why the atmospheric bands are so deep is a mystery, since they have always been associated with superficial weather patterns. Perhaps the intensity of Jupiter’s electromagnetism influences those structures, as well. More research is needed.
Rather than a liquid metallic dynamo inside Jupiter, it is probable that it is acting in accord with other well-known principles of physics. Rotating charged bodies produce dipolar electromagnetic fields, whether they are gas giants or rocky planets. Why some planets like Earth and Mercury possess magnetic fields, while Venus and Mars do not demands further investigation. However, the basic physics of charged objects in motion generating electromagnetism is not debated.
What is debated by Electric Universe advocates is what drives the jovian powerhouse. According to a recent press release, “…convection currents…stir the interior and produce the swirling clouds and storms…they are strong enough to generate Jupiter’s magnetic field by a process called dynamo action.”
Dynamos were described more than a century ago, and fluid dynamic equations are inadequate when electromagnetism and plasma environments are considered. Using models that are mechanical (kinetic) in nature, with activity limited to induction and the movement of solid matter, solves none of the enigmas Jupiter presents.
The Thunderbolts Picture of the Day is generously supported by the Mainwaring Archive Foundation.