Powerful solar storms cause intense X-rays observed on Jupiter, a new study showed. This discovery was discovered when, after a coronal mass ejection — huge flows of particles ejected from the Sun during a magnetic storm — headed for Jupiter in October 2011.
After two 11-hour observations on October 2 and 4, the researchers collected data to create a 3-D spherical image of Jupiter. It showed where X-ray activity was most intense. Researchers also found that during a storm, the solar wind compresses the boundary of Jupiter’s magnetosphere and creates high-energy X-rays.
"We want to understand this interaction and what impact it has on the planet," said lead author William Dunn, PhD candidate at University College London, in a statement. “By studying how the aurora changes, we can learn more about the area of space controlled by Jupiter’s magnetic field and how the Sun influences it. Understanding this relationship is important for countless magnetic objects throughout the galaxy, including exoplanets, brown dwarfs and neutron stars, "he added.
The researchers note that this will be of particular importance for Juno's mission, which is on its way to Jupiter and will arrive on the planet later this year. The spacecraft is designed to study the magnetic environment around Jupiter.
The study was published in the journal Geophysical Research.