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Mystery Photo

What in the world is it?

Mystery Photo
Don’t peek at the answer until you’ve given this a good try! Then, scroll down a bit and the truth will be revealed to you.

Credit: NASA/ESA, John Clarke (University of Michigan)

What In the World Is It?

A black light image of curdled milk? A hurricane at night? Nope. You’ll probably never guess this one. It’s an ultraviolet image of an aurora over one of Jupiter’s poles. What’s really odd about this Hubble Space Telescope image are the white swirls, because they were made by electric currents generated by Jupiter’s largest satellites as they sailed through Jupiter’s magnetic field. Think of them as "footprints" in "magnetic snow." Io’s footprint is the swirl along the left hand limb, Ganymede’s is near the center, and Europa’s is just below and to the right of Ganymede’s auroral footprint. These emissions are unlike anything seen on Earth.


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