Images by Date
Images by Category
Solar System
White Dwarfs
Neutron Stars
Black Holes
Milky Way Galaxy
Normal Galaxies
Galaxy Clusters
Cosmology/Deep Field
Images by Interest
Space Scoop for Kids
Sky Map
3D Wall
Photo Blog
Top Rated Images
Image Handouts
High Res Prints
Fits Files
Image Tutorials
Photo Album Tutorial
False Color
Cosmic Distance
Look-Back Time
Scale & Distance
Angular Measurement
Images & Processing
Getting Hard Copies
Image Use Policy
Web Shortcuts
Chandra Blog
RSS Feed
Email Newsletter
News & Noteworthy
Image Use Policy
Questions & Answers
Glossary of Terms
Download Guide
Get Adobe Reader
More Information
Solar System
X-ray Astronomy Field Guide
Solar System
Questions and Answers
Solar System
Chandra Images
Solar System
Related Podcasts
Tour of Pluto
Tour of Pluto (2016-09-16)
Download Image

More Information

More Images
X-ray/UV/Optical Composite
(Credit: X-ray: NASA/SWRI/
R.Gladstone et al., UV: NASA/HST/J.Clarke et al., Optical: NASA/HST/R.Beebe et al.)

More Releases
(22 Mar 16)
(01 Mar 07)
(02 Mar 05)

Related Images
(08 Mar 04)
(29 Nov 01)
Jupiter Hot Spot Makes Trouble For Theory

Credit: NASA/CXC/SWRI/G.R.Gladstone et al.

This image of Jupiter shows concentrations of auroral X-rays near the north and south magnetic poles. While Chandra observed Jupiter for its entire 10-hour rotation, the northern auroral X-rays were discovered to be due to a single 'hot spot' that pulsates with a period of 45 minutes, similar to high-latitude radio pulsations previously detected by NASA's Galileo and Cassini spacecraft.

Although there had been prior detections of X-rays from Jupiter with other X-ray telescopes, no one expected that the sources of the X-rays would be located so near the poles. The X-rays are thought to be produced by energetic oxygen and sulfur ions that are trapped in Jupiter's magnetic field and crash into its atmosphere. Before Chandra's observations, the favored theory held that the ions were mostly coming from regions close to the orbit of Jupiter's moon, Io.

Chandra's ability to pinpoint the source of the X-rays has cast serious doubt on this model. Ions coming from near Io's orbit cannot reach the observed high latitudes. The energetic ions responsible for the X-rays must come from much further away than previously believed.

One possibility is that particles flowing out from the Sun are captured in the outer regions of Jupiter's magnetic field, then accelerated and directed toward its magnetic pole. Once captured, the ions would bounce back and forth in the magnetic field, from Jupiter's north pole to south pole in an oscillating motion that could explain the pulsations.

Fast Facts for Jupiter:
Credit  NASA/CXC/SWRI/G.R.Gladstone et al.
Scale  Image is 1.5 arcmin on a side.
Category  Solar System
Observation Dates  December 18, 2000
Observation Time  10 hours
Obs. IDs  1862
Color Code  Intensity
Instrument  HRC
References G.R. Gladstone et al. Nature 415, 1000 (28 Feb 2002)
Distance Estimate  Jupiter was approximately 650 million kilometers from Earth at the time of observation
Release Date  February 27, 2002