► DARTS of the Month
Suzaku revealed a hidden activity of Jupiter's radiation belts
Suzaku is Japan's fifth X-ray astronomy satellite launched on July 10, 2005. DARTS is archiving all the Suzaku scientific and house keeping data, a part of which are already made publicly available.
Jupiter is the brightest planet in the solar system. Suzaku observed Jupiter on 2006 for about 5 days and discovered diffuse high energy X-ray emission around Jupiter.
This discovery is owe to low instrumental background and large effective area of the X-ray CCD system onboard Suzaku. The diffuse X-ray emission spatially coincides with Jupiter's radiation belts, which host high energy ions and electrons accelerated in a strong Jovian magnetic field.
The emission seems to be originated from mega electron volt electrons having a huge velocity near that of the light. Scientists expect that future Suzaku observations of Jupiter will reveal an unknown aspect of Jupiter's radiation belts.
The study appeared in ApJ Letter.
Yuichiro Ezoe (Tokyo Metropolitan University)