March 30, 2023

Astronomers have discovered new auroras over Jupiter’s four largest moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto, observable at visible wavelengths. The new auroras reveal in greater detail the composition of the thin atmospheres of these Jovian moons, including traces of oxygen and sodium, but only minimal water vapor. 

The team made the discovery while observing the moons as they sat in the shadow of Jupiter, the solar system’s largest planet, using the Keck Observatory’s High-Resolution Echelle Spectrometer (HIRES) as well as high-resolution spectrographs at the Large Binocular Telescope and Apache Point Observatory.

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