Unidentified Helium Ions on Jupiter?

Fig.1 JEDI ion summary for PJ1 showing Time of Flight through the instrument as a function of energy from Solid State Devices. The energy distribution tentatively marked Mg/Na by JEDI team, is “off the chart”.

As discussed in a recent post, the Juno JEDI data for PJ1 revealed a large number of particles with a unique high energy distribution, which is consistent with the origin of Jupiter’s energy proposed on this site – a continuous nuclear fusion reaction on the surface, producing 1030 high energy light helium nucleons, 3He++ per second. Because these are all being produced by the same fusion reaction, they all are given the same energy, 4.98 MeV.  This post clarifies the fusion reaction which is taking place on Jupiter.

The sequence of reactions thought to power the Sun are:

  • p + p -> d + e+ + v     (p is proton, e+ is a positron and v is a neutrino)
  • p + d -> 3He+ + γ       (d is deuteron, γ  gamma ray and 3He+ is an isotope of helium)
  • 3He  + 3He -> 4He + p + p

This sequence is thought to be initiated by the fusion of two protons, or hydrogen nuclei, which require a very high pressure and temperature (velocity) to overcome the mutual Coulomb repulsion. If as discussed on this site, Jupiter formed as a cold, highly deuterated, solid methane gas hydrate in a LDN, the Sun was also highly deuterated, and the first reaction above was not necessary . The second reaction above was triggered on surface of Jupiter by an impact 6,000-years BP, which has slowly declined but still burns only 700 km below the cloud-tops 50,000 km east of the Great Red Spot. The reaction, usually written   p + d -> 3He+ + γ , is taking place at the lowest temperature of any nuclear fusion, e.g. the temperature of the reaction on Jupiter. It is contained by the high atmospheric pressure. The low temperature on the Methane Gas Hydrate Jupiter eliminates the third step in the solar process because the  3He+ isotopes cannot fuse.

The published equation above implies that the nuclear fusion of a proton and a deuteron produces a light helium ion, 3He+, with two protons and one neutron, because that is the only particle observed. But nuclear fusion must produce nuclear particles, not ions. Therefore the reaction first produces a light helium nucleus, 3He++ . The acquisition of an electron, changing 3He++ to 3He+ occur rapidly in a laboratory environment, so it has never been noted, but cannot be occurring on the massive 1030  nucleons (4.98 MeV) per second being generated on Jupiter because they are constrained to a vortex by the Coriolis effect. Moving at 17,800 km/s, these doubly ionized particles, currently known only as the inner radiation belt, are lost to space or return to the poles in less than thirty seconds because the system is in equilibrium. As a result, they are the primary form of helium encountered by Juno.

This explains the fact that ‘storms’ of stable, high energy ions were detectd by earlier missions: Ulysses, Cassini, and the Galileo orbiter, at great distances from Jupiter – because they had been dispersed through the enormous clouds of electrons surrounding the Jupiter system. Although the Galileo atmospheric probe was close to Jupiter, it also identified large numbers of high energy helium ions, 3He+ “of unknown origin” because some of the  3He++ ions captured electrons as they passed through the massive atmospheric heat shield, which had not yet been ejected and thereby became identifiable. This continuous ionization process in the outer reaches of Jupiter, by which the massive numbers of helium nuclei, 3He++, become the stable singly ionized 3He+, is producing a diffuse radiating cloud surrounding the Jupiter system. The concentrated streams of powerful 3He++ continuously impact the poles producing the far UV auroral ovals.

What is ignored in the literature is that nuclear fusion reactions must produce nuclear particles, not atoms with electrons. Thus the reaction on Jupiter is producing 1030 light helium nuclei3He++, with energies of 4.98 MeV. These are not stable and can capture an electron to form the stable  3He+. The author suggests that their unique high energy distribution has been detected (marked in Figure 1 as Mg/Na), but that the double charge is preventing the JEDI ion detector from measuring the Time of Flight (TOF) correctly, thereby misidentifying the ions. The TOF is measured by electrons ejected when the ion passes thru two layers (start and stop) of foil and amplified by microchannel plates. The double charge on the ions is delaying the start pulse.



To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour.

– William Blake

~ by Angiras on November 3, 2017.

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