Hubble finds evidence of permanent presence of water in the atmosphere of Jupiter’s moon Europa

Scientists analyzed the archival results of the Hubble Space Observatory and found evidence of the permanent presence of water in the gas envelope of Jupiter’s moon Europa. According to Geophysical Research Letters, water in the atmosphere of Europe was found only in one hemisphere of the satellite – in the opposite direction of motion around the giant planet.

“The stable presence of water in the atmosphere of Europe is an impressive discovery, which came as a surprise to us, as temperatures on the surface of Europe are very low,” said Lorenz Roth, a researcher at the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and lead author of the research project. The scientist added that a method was used to detect water in Europa’s gaseous envelope, which previously made it possible to find water vapor on Ganymede (Jupiter’s largest moon).

“We looked at the data that Hubble received in the ultraviolet range in 1999, 2012 and 2014, when the telescope was in different orbital positions. The data allowed us to determine the traces of oxygen, which is one of the components of water. Then we made a more detailed interpretation of the data and identified water vapor, “said Roth.

Scientists have long suspected that water vapor exists on Europa, as indicated by jets more than 100 km high, which erupted through the ice on the surface of Jupiter’s moon. Now the existence of water in the atmosphere of the moon has been confirmed with new data.

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