Jupiter’s magnetic field has changed since the 1970s, and physicists have proved it.That’s not exactly a surprise. Earth’s magnetic field, the only planetary field for which we have good ongoing measurements, changes all the time. But the new information is important, because these small changes reveal hidden details of a planet’s internal “dynamo,” the system that produces its magnetic field.In a paper published May 20 in the journal Nature Astronomy, a team of researchers looked at magnetic field data from four past missions to Jupiter (Pioneer 10, which reached Jupiter in 1973; Pioneer 11, which reached Jupiter in 1974; Voyager 1, which reached Jupiter in 1979; and Ulysses, which reached Jupiter in 1992). [10 Places in the Solar System We’d Most Like to Visit]They compared that data to a map of the planet’s magnetic field produced by the spacecraft Juno, which conducted the most recent and most thorough probe of the giant planet. In 2016, Juno orbited very close to Jupiter, passing from pole to pole, gathering detailed gravitational and magnetic field data. That allowed researchers to develop a thorough model of the planet’s magnetic field and some detailed theories as to how it’s produced.
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