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Jupiter dynamo, Lunar sparking

23 August 2014

At http://phys.org/print327822387.html … we have a picture of Jupiter cut open in an attempt to explain why its magnetic field is similar to that of the Earth but the two bodies are so different – one has a rocky crust and the other is gaseous. It is inferred the structures of Jupiter and the Earth are radically different, but are they?

Computer simulation has been used to explain the origin of the magnetic field inside the gas giant. It begins on the premise that the Earth is surrounded by a magnetic field because deep in its interior there is a revolving mass of iron and nickel. This motion gives rise to electric currents that generate Earth's dipole magnetic field in much the same way as a bicycle dynamo operates.

Jupiter consists mostly of hydrogen and helium but probably has a rocky core – we are told. Hence, it too has a dynamo. The novelty of the computer simulation was that it came up with the proposition Jupiter had two dynamos – not one.

NASA's Juno spacecraft is due to enter orbit around Jupiter in 2016. We can imagine scientists are shouldering each other aside in an attempt to answer the mysteries of the gas giant prior to the space visit. Whatever, the discoveries from 2016 onwards will be interesting if they are anything like the information beamed back from Saturn.

At http://phys.org/print327833040.html … again, modelling has been done to show how, over many eons, the solar wind has altered the properties of soil and debris on the surface of the Moon – through the process of sparking. This discovery, they claim, could change how we view the evolution of planetary surfaces in the solar system. High energy particles from uncommonly large solar storms can penetrate the Moon's polar regions and electrically charge the insides of craters and in the process create electrostatic sparking, a weathering process. In other words, a very slow uniformitarian style process where a rapid change is still waiting at the back of the queue.

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