Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system. However, it has also the largest magnetic field in the whole solar system. It’s so large that it even reaches the orbit of its neighbouring planet, Saturn. If the magnetic field of Jupiter were visible to our eyes, it would have taken the shape of the moon in the dark night sky. Isn’t that interesting?
JUPITER’S MAGNETIC FIELD:
The magnetic field of Jupiter is 20,000 times stronger than that of our planet. However, it has a primary north pole and south pole like our earth. But unlike earth, it has its north pole in the northern hemisphere, and the south pole in the southern hemisphere.
In fact, Jupiter doesn’t have a solid surface. It’s a gas giant. Everything you see in a picture of Jupiter is actually gas.
HOW IS THE MAGNETIC FIELD GENERATED?
The south pole of the planet is comparatively in an ordered state than the north pole. The north pole has one narrow magnetic hotspot. And it also chaotic magnetic patches. The strong field gets produced by a swirling mass of hydrogen that is situated deep within Jupiter. The high pressure in that region converts material into a metallic liquid. As a consequence, it will be able to conduct electricity. Hence, there will be production of magnetic fields when stirred.
Research also says that the heat during the formation of the planet in the beginning of the universe also results in convection currents that make the liquid flow. This is almost similar to the occurings in earth’s iron core. Convection in that iron core also creates the magnetic field of our planet.
THE BLUE SPOT ON JUPITER:
NASA’s spacecraft Juno has sent images of a blue mark near the planet’s equator. Juno has been orbiting the gas giant since July 2016.
Images from Juno here https://www.missionjuno.swri.edu/junocam
More information about Juno here
THE RADIATION ZONE:
The magnetic field of Jupiter is a heavy radiation zone. There are radiation belts out there. It also occurs due to the solar wind. As a result, entering into Jupiter’s magnetic field can be really dangerous as it may hamper the electrical instruments, and damage the whole system due to its strong field intensity.