Jupiter’s largest moon sounds like a friendly robot

NASA’s Juno spacecraft flew by Jupiter’s moon Ganymede in June. Utilizing knowledge from that rendezvous, scientists have created an audio monitor of the sounds of Ganymede’s ambiance. 

Throughout Juno’s thirty eighth orbit round Jupiter, the craft soared round Ganymede and recorded the moon’s electrical and magnetic radio waves. Juno sensed the waves, produced in Ganymede’s magnetosphere, with its Waves instrument. NASA scientists shifted the frequencies of these recordings to supply a 50-second monitor audible to human ears. The outcome feels like one thing from Star Wars, with excessive chimes and whistles paying homage to R2-D2. 

“This soundtrack is simply wild sufficient to make you’re feeling as when you had been using alongside as Juno sails previous Ganymede for the primary time in additional than 20 years,” Juno Principal Investigator Scott Bolton of the Southwest Analysis Institute in San Antonio stated in a statement. “For those who hear carefully, you may hear the abrupt change to increased frequencies across the midpoint of the recording, which represents entry into a unique area in Ganymede’s magnetosphere.”

Evaluation of Ganymede’s wave recordings are nonetheless ongoing, however “it’s doable the change within the frequency shortly after closest method is because of passing from the nightside to the dayside of Ganymede,” William Kurth, lead co-investigator for the Waves investigation, stated in a press release.

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Ganymede is our photo voltaic system’s largest moon, with a diameter 41 p.c of Earth’s. It’s additionally the one moon recognized to have its personal magnetic area. 

Juno is NASA’s mission to know how fuel giants shaped and their position within the photo voltaic system’s creation. Launched in 2011, Juno started orbiting Jupiter in 2016, and is the primary spacecraft to penetrate the thick fuel that covers the large planet. 

[Related: Juno finally got close enough to Jupiter’s Great Red Spot to measure its depth]

Utilizing Juno’s magnetometer, NASA’s workforce additionally just lately produced essentially the most detailed map ever of Jupiter’s magnetic area. Evaluating the readings from the spacecraft’s 5 years within the fuel large’s orbit, scientists can see that the Nice Blue Spot, Jupiter’s magnetic anomaly on the equator, is drifting eastward. It’s touring about 2 inches per second relative to the remainder of the planet’s physique, which implies it’s going to lap the planet in about 350 years. The Nice Crimson Spot–the anticyclone simply south of Jupiter’s equator–is drifting westward and can circle the planet in about four-and-a-half years.

“That is actually the primary time that we’ve seen a magnetic area getting affected by the ambiance,” Bolton advised The Washington Post. “It actually demonstrates that its deep ambiance may be very dynamic, far more than individuals had thought.”

Two storms on Jupiter
NASA spacecraft Juno captured these two massive rotating storms on Jupiter. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS Picture processing: Kevin M. Gill

The workforce additionally launched new photos of Jupiter and its swirling storms. Jupiter’s vortices resemble these in Earth’s oceans—astronomers imagine they emerge spontaneously, and researchers don’t know when, or if, these storms will dissipate. The brand new photos and readings contribute to a extra full understanding of Jupiter and of our photo voltaic system at massive. The formation of such an enormous fuel planet absolutely influenced the way in which our photo voltaic system pulled itself collectively, however Jupiter’s genesis remains to be poorly understood by astronomers. These knowledge deliver planetary scientists a little bit nearer to piecing collectively how the mass of fuel known as Jupiter got here to be. 

“We’re making an attempt to know the place we got here from, how we received right here,” Bolton advised The Post. “And Jupiter is a giant a part of that story.”


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