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First Look at Jupiter’s Icy Moon

NASA’s Hubble Finds First Evidence of Water Vapor at Jupiter’s Moon Ganymede.

According to previous research, Ganymede is the largest moon in the solar system. Ganymede contains more water than all the Earth’s oceans but, the water on the surface is frozen solid due to cold temperature. Ganymede oceans would reside approximately 100 miles below the crust. On the other hand, the water vapor would not represent the evaporation of this ocean. In the exciting discovery, astronomers discovered water vapors on the moon’s surface and found that there was barely atomic oxygen in the Ganymede’s surface.

On June 7, 2021, this image of Ganymede was captured by the JunoCam image during, flyby of the icy moon.

Astronomers re-examined Hubble’s observations from the last 20 years. As in 1998, Hubble’s Space Telescope Imaging spectrograph took the primary ultraviolet images of Ganymede. In images, colorful ribbons of electrified gas are shown called auroral bands and, there is evidence that Ganymede has a weak magnetic field.

Astronomers inspect the similarities in these UV observations were because of the presence of molecular oxygen. But some observed spectrographs did not match the expected emissions from a pure O2 atmosphere. At the very moment, astronomers concluded this discrepancy show higher concentrations of atomic oxygen (O).

In 1998, Hubble’s Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph took these primary ultraviolet images of Ganymede, which disclose a particular pattern in the observed emissions from the moon’s atmosphere. The moon displays auroral bands similar to aurora ovals examined on Earth and other planets show magnetic fields. The fact proved that Ganymede has a permanent magnetic field. The similarities in the ultraviolet observations were explained by the presence of molecular oxygen. The differences are obtained at the time by the presence of atomic oxygen, which brings forth a signal that affects one UV color more than the other.
Credits: NASA, ESA, Lorenz Roth (KTH)

To carry NASA’s Juno mission in 2018, Lorenz Roth of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, led the team that began to live the quantity of atomic oxygen with Hubble. 

The Roth’s team examination combined the data from two instruments: one was Hubble’s Cosmic Origins Spectrograph in 2018 and, the other was archival images from the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) from 1998 to 2010. Roth and his team then took a better look at the distribution of the aurora within the UV images. The Moon’s surface temperature varied strongly throughout the day, and around noon near the equator, it became sufficiently warm that the ice surfaces sublimated some amounts of water molecules.

“Until now only the molecular oxygen had been noticed,” explained Roth. “This is built when charged particles disintegrate the ice surface. The water vapor that we measure now develops from ice sublimation caused by the thermal escape of water vapor from warm icy regions.”

JUICE (Jupiter ICy moons Explorer) is that the essential high-class exploit in ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 program. Spend at least three years perceiving Jupiter and three of its immense moons, with particular emphasis on Ganymede.

JUICE Spacecraft

“Our results can provide the JUICE instrument teams with precious information which will be wont to refine their examination plans to amend the application of the spacecraft,” added Roth.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft flew closer to Jupiter’s enormous moon than the opposing in additional than 20 years, offering dramatic glimpses of the icy orb. On June 7, 2021, a flyby of Jupiter’s giant moon Ganymede is received on Earth. The photos from the Jupiter orbiter’s JunoCam imager and the other from its Stellar Reference Unit star camera represent the surface in exceptional detail, including craters, clearly well-shaped, dark, and bright territory, and long structural features possibly linked to tectonic faults.

NASA’s Juno Spacecraft

The Juno spacecraft will send more images from its Ganymede flyby in the coming days, with JunoCam’s raw images being made available here.

Writer: Amina Kiani

Reported by: Imaaz Nadeem

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