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Water vapor was detected in Ganymede’s atmosphere

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Jupiter's moon Ganymede, the largest moon in our solar system.

Observations taken by the Hubble Space Telescope indicate 20 years Water vapor is present in the atmospherehere from Icy Moon of Jupiter Ganymede. The findings make the frozen moon an even more interesting target in the search for extraterrestrial life.

apparent The discovery of water vapor came after researchers compared Ganymede’s two observations in 1998 to another round of observations made in 2018. One analysis determined that sublimated water in the atmosphere would be the most likely cause of the discrepancy found in the 1998 data. The team that performed the 2018 observations was It has results published in natural astronomy today.

In 1998, Hubble Space Telescope Spectrograph Imaging The STIS instrument captured two ultraviolet images of Ganymede, which revealed bands in the moon’s atmosphere that resemble the aurora borealis, meaning the moon has a permanent magnetic field. There were slight differences in the ultraviolet observations made by Hubble at that time, which are attributed to the presence of atomic oxygen in the atmosphere.

Two Hubble Space Telescope observations in 1998 revealed the presence of oxygen in the moon's atmosphere.

These observations were followed up in 2018 by Hubble ultraviolet observations of Ganymede cosmic origins spectrometer, who sought to measure the amount of atomic oxygen in the atmosphere and compare it to previous data, from 1998 and 2010. But the most recent team found hardly any atomic oxygen in Ganymede’s atmosphere, suggesting that earlier ultraviolet images were showing something else.

The team found the answer in how Ganymede’s aurora is distributed across the two 1998 photos. Over the course of a day at Ganymede, its surface temperature rises and falls. When it’s noon on the moon, the surface can heat up enough to release water molecules.

As Lorenz Roth, lead author of the study and a planetary astronomer at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, wrote in a recent talk. Behind the Paper blog post For Nature, “The difference in the images is exactly where water is expected in the atmosphere. And water vapor has an effect similar to atomic oxygen on the spectral signal …” In other words, what seemed to be a discrepancy in atomic oxygen could be In fact The water vapor appears one image without the other, due to the regions of the atmosphere they were targeting.

in a European Space Agency newsletter releaseRoth added that the upcoming JUpiter ICy (JUICE) moon explorer mission could include the latest discovery in its investigation of Ganymede and Jupiter’s other icy moons, Europa and Callisto. In fact, Yoruba is believed to possess water columns that launch from the subsurface ocean, and the spacecraft may have through one of these columns in 1997. Ganymede’s water vapor makes these worlds more interesting to astrobiologists.

more: What would life look like on an ocean moon?


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