Jupiter's Aurora
© Acksblog
Fig. 1. A portion of the 3He++ particles deflected to the poles to form auroral ovals.
As discussed in a recent post, Jupiter is a solid, highly deuterated, Methane Gas Hydrate (clathrate) body, density of 1.33 g/cm3 incorporating the full complement of known solar system elements. The terrestrial planets were each formed by unique impacts on Jupiter, The most recent of which was Venus. This impact left behind a continuous fusion reaction which has slowly declined over the past 6,000 years to a single reaction, usually written.

p + d -> 3He+ + γ (1)

As reasoned in a previous post and below, the author maintains this is not the correct form of the reaction, which should be written:

p + d -> 3He++ (2)

The energy produced by this aneutronic reaction is solely in the kinetic energy of 1030 light helium nucleons per second, 4.98 MeV, with velocities of 17,800 km/s on the MGH surface 50,000 km east of the Great Red Spot. These nucleons swirl in a vortex, due to the Coriolis effect (proportional to their velocity and the rapid rotation of Jupiter), exit the atmosphere via the Great Red Spot and circulate prograde (yellow in Figure 1) around the planet. This circulation of positively charged particles generates the unusual magnetodisk magnetic field of Jupiter. The field is powerful because it is produced in space, not shielded within the planet.

JUpiter's Southern Aurora
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Fig.2 JIRAM IR image of Southern Aurora.
The circulating nucleons are lost to space as fast as they are produced after circling Jupiter several times (30 seconds). Due to their high concentration, most have no chance of encountering electrons during this period. The Energetic Particle Instruments on Ulysses, Cassini, and the Galileo orbiter identified 'storms' of high energy, electrically charged 'dust particles' at great distances from Jupiter. These observations suggest that the 3He++ lost were dispersed through the enormous clouds of electrons in the outer reaches of the Jupiter system, where they became the stable 3He+. Although close to Jupiter, the Galileo atmospheric probe identified large numbers of high energy helium ions, 3He+, "of unknown origin" because the helium nuclei captured electrons as they passed through the massive atmospheric heat shield, which had not yet been ejected, thereby becoming identifiable, were detected.

Just above the GRS some of the helium ions penetrate the circulating cloud and become captured in the magnetic field (blue in Figure 1). These comprise two powerful vortices which impact at the poles. The high velocities (17,800 km/s) of the 3He++ nucleons ensure powerful impacts in the atmosphere, producing the deep auroral ovals. The depth to which these ions penetrate the atmosphere is illustrated in the JIRAM images taken in the H3 band
North and South auroral ovals
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Fig.3 UV images of North and South auroral ovals.
(Figure 2). However, the most energetic radiation from the auroral ovals, is in the Ultra Violet, evidenced by many analyses by the Hubble space telescope. The Juno UltraViolet Imaging Spectrometer, encompassing the H II bands (Lyman, Werner, and Rydberg) and H Ly α bands, produced the image in Figure 4 and measured the auroral power at 3 Tw (Terrawatts). But the Juno team has not identified the origin of the UV in the auroral ovals.

The Origin of the UltraViolet Auroras

The vortical flow of ~ 1027 /s 3He++ nucleons impacting around Jupiter's poles, with velocities > 17,800 km/sec, produces a Ly α UV continuum with an edge at 228 Å, produced by the capture of electrons as they enter the atmosphere. This edge is at much shorter wavelengths than the hydrogen Ly α UV, the edge of which is at 700 Å. This higher energy UV radiation from Jupiter's aurora was detected in 1989, but interpreted as Doppler (blue) shifted H Ly α. [Clark et al., Doppler Shifted H Ly α Emission from Jupiter's Aurora, GRL v. 16, N. 6, 1989.] The auroral UV radiation is currently thought to be from methane, because methane absorption bands obscure some of the radiation, but methane is not its origin.

The ovals are 'permanent' because the fusion reaction is continuous. The southern auroral oval is more circular than the northern one because the ion path from the GRS, at 22 º S. Lat., is shorter. As a result, the longitude offsets of the two are slightly different. The distortion of the northern oval in NASA videos reveals that it moves with the rotation of Jupiter because the geographical reference longitudes are from System III, which is defined by the location of the Great Red Spot. This gives the impression that the magnetic field is generated in the interior, but it is not.

Note: The radiation due to the capture of electrons by 3He++ is incorrectly attributed to a γ emission in the common form of the nuclear reaction (1).
This day before dawn, I ascended a hill and looked at the crowded heaven. And I said to my spirit 'When we become the enfolders of these orbs, and the pleasure and knowledge of everything in them, shall we be filled and satisfied then? And my spirit said 'No, we level that lift to pass and continue beyond.' Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass