Another Gaffe in the Press - Jupiter has no Magnetosphere!
Posted: 30 January 2008 11:39 PM   [ Ignore ]
Total Posts:  102
Joined  2007-09-14

Lots of news around about Mercury; including some blabber about its magnetosphere, which is much weaker than Earth’s.  There’s also some rubbish about how only the planets Earth and Mercury have magnetospheres.  I read that and immediately thought about the images of Northern Lights from Jupiter…

The cluprit seems to be an API story which seems to be largely parroted around the ‘Net, (including CNN, excite, etc.)

It says “Mercury is the only planet in the solar system other than Earth to have a magnetosphere.”

ScienceDaily gets it right: 
“Mercury and Earth are the only two terrestrial planets in the solar system with magnetospheres produced by an intrinsic magnetic field.” (emphasis added)

The misunderstanding and misinformation probably comes from a scientifically challenged writer who extracted the information from this quote (found on Yahoo News): “The only other example in our solar system of an Earth-like magnetosphere is tiny Mercury,” said Sean C. Solomon, MESSENGER Principal Investigator from the Carnegie Institution of Washington.