Radio Jove

So you're probably wondering "What is Radio Jove?"

Mills Cross, Seneca, Washington

In 1955, during a study of the sky at low frequencies with the Mills Cross Array at Seneca, near Maryland, Washington, bursts of radio noise were detected from an unknown source. Later tests confirmed the origin to be the planet Jupiter.

At the time, little was known about the cause of the radio noise but over the years a lot has been learned about Jupiter and its moons.

The "Radio Jove" project was started by NASA as a simple educational project within the abilities of school students to build and operate. A simple 20 Megahertz receiver was designed and made available as a kit that could be assembled easily. With a Dipole Antenna erected outside and connected to the receiver students could receive the radio noise bursts from Jupiter.

Visit the NASA Radio Jove website for information on the Radio Jove Project.

The science behind the Jovian outbursts is interesting. The moon Io orbits Jupiter. It gets pushed and pulled by Jupiters gravity and has a molten core. As one of very few moons with volcanoes it leaves a trail of gases and dust which is ionised by Jupiter (it heats up and gets an electric charge). An electrical discharge causes a current to flow between Io and Jupiter. The magnetic field of Jupiter turns the electric current into a radio noise called 'Synchrotron Radiation'. When the Jupiter - Io position is just right we receive the Synchrotron Radiation here on Earth.

The charts below are recordings of the Radio Noise received by our Radio Jove receiver. The top chart is the last 10 minute period and the lower chart is across a 10 hour period. The recordings are made using Radio Skypipe.