Auroras heat the atmosphere of Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, by hundreds of degrees. Writes about this portal ScienceNews.
About 40 years ago, scientists discovered that while the temperature of the upper layers of the gas giants is only -73 ° C, then it is several hundred kilometers lower – the environment is already warming up to about 400 ° C. The nature of this phenomenon remained unclear for a long time.
Astronomers measured infrared radiation with the Keck II telescope on the Mauna Kea volcano in the Hawaiian archipelago, measuring the release of hydrogen ions in the atmosphere. These emissions are due to the collision of sunlight with dense breaks in the atmosphere of celestial bodies at tremendous speeds, resulting in the formation of auroras.
Scientists have come to the conclusion that clouds in the polar zone, near the planet’s magnetic poles, around which radiation condenses, heat up to 725 ° C, primarily due to the aurora borealis. In turn, in the equatorial zone, the atmospheric temperature really reaches about 400 ° C.
“Our next task is to understand the mechanisms of formation and circulation of heat in the atmosphere of Jupiter, so that later we can include our observations in a computer simulation of the gas giant,” said Tommy Koskinen of the University of Arizona.