Puzzling X-rays from Jupiter
March 7, 2002 4:29 PM   Subscribe

Puzzling X-rays from Jupiter "We weren't surprised to find x-rays coming from Jupiter." Other observatories had done that years ago. The surprise is what Chandra has revealed for the very first time: the location of the beacon -- surprisingly close the planet's pole -- and the regular way it pulses. (Via Fark.)
posted by Mwongozi (8 comments total)
Take a look at the large animation of the X-ray source too.
posted by Mwongozi at 4:30 PM on March 7, 2002

perhaps its a large black rectangle floating in space
posted by boltman at 5:19 PM on March 7, 2002

They're not perfectly regular like a signal from E.T. might be; the period drifts back and forth by a few percent. "This is a natural process," he adds, "we just don't know what it is...."

Dang! I was hoping someone had seen the plate on Pioneer10 and sent a postcard.
posted by planetkyoto at 5:29 PM on March 7, 2002

Can't see that, evanizer, without navigating through the site (referrer lock). I'm sure they have little choice, otherwise people'd be stealing their bandwidth like crazy -- but it's hard not to see that little "bzzt. sorry" message and think, "Assholes." YOu should be able to go here, though -- and it happens to be the same image that boltman linked to, anyway.

That's pretty cool. I was just hearing on NPR's Science Friday about how if it weren't for Io constantly spewing ejecta into the Jupiter orbital region, it wouldn't have any electrical activity at all. And my first thought was that this was a kind of "pole hole" like we have, allowing emissions to escape from the interior. But 45 minutes ... means something else, and I like the ringing-bell explanation.

Naturally there can be nothing on Jupiter that's broadcasting, because there is no surface. Or maybe there is one, and the people are 100 feet tall.
posted by dhartung at 9:14 PM on March 7, 2002

D'oh! Thanks dhartung for pointing that out. It looked ok in preview, probably because it was in my cache.
posted by evanizer at 9:18 PM on March 7, 2002

dhartung, considering the greater gravity on Jupiter (earth gravity times 2.4755), it's likely that Jovians would be shorter rather than taller. But again, that's assuming there's some kind of solid surface down there among all those clouds.
posted by alumshubby at 8:00 AM on March 8, 2002

the period drifts back and forth by a few percent. "This is a natural process," he adds, "we just don't know what it is...."

If I was going to make a giant signal for some future life form that might evolve in the area, I'd see about setting up some 'natural' process using handy local resources (Jupiter) that would keep working over the proper scale. A few precent is close enough if it lasts a few million years.. As long as it gets the locals attention when they get smart enough.

I don't believe in UFOs, but I'm up for any excuse to spend money on space, this sounds prefect. Just getting smart enough to detect this thing has taken until now, we could have a buzzcut on site inside another 100 if we work at it a bit.
posted by Leonard at 8:22 AM on March 8, 2002

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