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About this Image

The planet Jupiter has a strong magnetic field which traps and holds very fast moving electrons. These electrons radiate radio waves producing the large extended features beyond the planet's disk seen in the VLA picture of Jupiter. The electrons and magnetic field outside of Jupiter's atmosphere form a region very similar to the Earth's Van Allen radiation belt. Optical emission from Jupiter arises only from the planet disk itself, because the relativistic particles are not energetic enough to emit in the optical spectrum. The gas in the atmosphere of the planet itself also produces radio emission.

A 3-dimensional mapping of Jupiters radiation belts by the Australian Telescopes Compact Array can be found from Dr. R. Saults webpage at http://www.atnf.csiro.au/research/solarsys/jupiter/misc/jup95l.outer.mpeg.

Investigator(s):  I. de Pater

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Technical Data

    Telescope VLA 
    Date of Observation 1981-05-22 
    Type of Observation Continuum Observations 
    Band L 
    Wavelength 20 cm 
    Frequency 1.4 GHz 
    Technical Caption Observing run - 1981 May at the VLA, B-configuration using about 27 antennas. Integration time - 15 minutes.  


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