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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

Jupiter Moon Found to Have Magnetic Field, Probably Molten Iron Core

December 12, 1996|Times staff and wire reports

Jupiter's biggest moon, Ganymede, is surprisingly like Earth in some ways, with a magnetic field and probably a molten iron core, researchers report in the Dec. 12 issue of the journal Nature, citing data from the orbiting Galileo spacecraft. The results are considered important because they provide more information about what a planet needs to generate a magnetic field.

Such a core is the only reasonable explanation for the presence of the field, UCLA researcher Gerald Schubert and his colleagues wrote. Currents moving through the liquid would produce the field, as they do in molten metal--mostly iron--in Earth's core.

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