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Hubble observes geysers erupting from Europa
Posted: Fri, Dec 13, 2013, 7:49 AM ET (1249 GMT)
Europa geyser illustration (NASA/SwRI) Planetary scientists said Thursday they have detected evidence in Hubble Space Telescope data of geysers of water erupting from the icy surface of Jupiter's moon Europa. Hubble observations of Europa last December detected ultraviolet emissions above the south pole of Europa that scientists linked to hydrogen and oxygen that had been excited by Jupiter's magnetic field. That hydrogen and oxygen, scientists conclude, comes from water vapor venting from Europa and broken apart by magnetic field electrons. The geysers spewing this water vapor have a similar density of water as those on Enceladus, the moon of Saturn that also has geysers of water, directly detected by Cassini. The observations provide additional evidence of the presence of an ocean of liquid water below the icy surface of Europa.
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