Every 45 minutes a gigawatt pulse of x-rays courses through the solar system. “The pulses are coming from the north pole of Jupiter,” says Randy Gladstone, a scientist at the Southwest Research Institute and leader of the team that made the discovery using NASA’s orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory.

“We weren’t surprised to find x-rays coming from Jupiter,” he says. What did surprise him is what Chandra revealed for the first time: the location of the beacon, which is surprisingly close the planet’s pole, and the regular way it pulses.
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Researchers have noticed a mysterious dark spot near Jupiter?s north pole and watched it develop for more than two months. It was photographed by the Cassini spacecraft, which is a NASA-operated robot, but was only spotted recently, when researchers were catching up with some of the Cassini imagery that had not been fully studied. The images were made between October 1 and December 15, 2000, as Cassini approached Jupiter. This is similar to the ?Face? on Mars, which was first observed long after the images had been taken.
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Every 45 minutes a gigawatt pulse of x-rays courses through the solar system. ?The pulses are coming from the north pole of Jupiter,? says Randy Gladstone of the Southwest Research Institute, who made the discovery using NASA?s orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory.

?We weren?t surprised to find x-rays coming from Jupiter,? he says. Other observatories discovered this years ago. What?s surprising is the location of the x-ray beacon, which is a spot close the planet?s pole, and the regular way it pulses.
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Brad Dalton, a planetary geologist with the Ames Research Center, thinks bacteria could account for the odd light emissions, as well as the reddish hue, coming from Jupiter?s moon Europa. He used data collected from the Galileo spacecraft to find matches between chemical signatures of bacteria on Earth and unexplained infrared readings from Europa.

Analyzing infrared light can provide clues to the chemicals that the light has passed through and infrared readings of Europa indicate that the discolored patches contain water bound to some other material. Most scientists think this material is sulphur compounds, such as magnesium salts, which could have formed from geochemical reactions, or sulfuric acid created by radiation interacting with the surface.
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