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The discovery of water vapor over Ganymede, one of Jupiter's largest moons |  Sweden

The discovery of water vapor over Ganymede, one of Jupiter’s largest moons | Sweden

According Libya From NASA’s Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), astronomers from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm have discovered for the first time evidence of water vapor in the atmosphere. The moon Ganymede of Jupiter.

This discovery comes – which was published its results The journal Nature Astronomy – After scientists used new and archival data sets from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, they detected steam, which forms when ice on Ganymede’s surface sublimes and turns from solid to gas.

Thanks to this discovery, scientists hope to determine how the atmosphere formed on Jupiter’s moon.

Jupiter and 4 of its moons (Getty Images)

evaporating water

The statement issued by the Space Telescope Science Institute says that there was previous research conducted to detect water in Jupiter’s moon Ganymede – the ninth largest body in our solar system – and those research indicated that Ganymede contains more water than all of the Earth’s oceans combined, although it is A moon is 2.4 times smaller than our planet.

The statement added that Ganymede is very cold, with temperatures reaching minus 184 degrees Celsius, so that the surface is an ice crust of frozen water.

It is possible that there is a salty ocean under this crust about 161 km, as this groundwater is too far from the surface of the ice crust to be the source of water vapor detected in the atmosphere. Instead, the team believes the steam formed when ice sublimated at Ganymede’s surface.

Scientists analyzed Hubble telescope data between 1998 and 2018 (Hubble Telescope-NASA)

Analysis of past and new data

In 1998, the Hubble Space Telescope’s spectroscopic imaging device captured the first ultraviolet images of Ganymede, which revealed, in two images, colored streaks of electrified gas called auroral clusters, and other images were taken in 2010 by the Hubble spectrometer of cosmic origins, as well as Photos taken in April 2018.

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As part of a monitoring program to uncover new evidence of water on Jupiter’s moon Ganymede, a team from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, examined Hubble observations in the past two decades from 1998 to 2018.

These images, upon analysis, revealed that the moon’s atmosphere contains large amounts of oxygen ions, and the scientists assumed that they came from water molecules that appear as a result of the effect of sunlight on the Ganymede ice sheet.

In the context of reexamining and analyzing previous images and data, scientists also analyzed observations made by “Hubble” in April 2018, when Ganymede fell for hours in the shadow of Jupiter.

Scientists compared the photographs to those taken by Hubble in previous years, and they were able to discover water lines in the Ganymede spectrum, and through this analysis, they were able to assess the density of water in its atmosphere, as well as measure the amount of atomic oxygen.

The scientists also found that the density of water on the solar and dark sides varies greatly, and it was found that the density of water reached 30 nanograms per square meter on the surface of the solar side of the moon of Jupiter, while its dark side has practically no water, and this surprised the scientists at the time.

Ultraviolet images of Ganymede, revealing the pattern of atmospheric emissions (Hubble Telescope – NASA)

Find out the reasons for the discrepancy

In order to reveal the reasons for the difference in the density of water in the solar and dark sides, the research team took a closer look at the relative distribution of the aurora borealis in the ultraviolet images.

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The images showed that there is a variation in Ganymede’s surface temperature throughout the day. At noon near the equator it may become warm enough that the surface of the ice releases (or rises) some small amounts of water molecules.

The differences observed in the ultraviolet images are directly related to where water is expected to be in the lunar atmosphere.

“So far, only[molecular oxygen]produced when charged particles erodes the surface of the ice has been observed,” says Lorenz Roth, head of the science team from the Royal Institute of Technology. Water from warm icy regions.

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