Metallization and Electrical Conductivity of Hydrogen in Jupiter

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Science  16 Aug 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5277, pp. 936-938
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5277.936


Electrical conductivities of molecular hydrogen in Jupiter were calculated by scaling electrical conductivities measured at shock pressures in the range of 10 to 180 gigapascals (0.1 to 1.8 megabars) and temperatures to 4000 kelvin, representative of conditions inside Jupiter. Jupiter's magnetic field is caused by convective dynamo motion of electrically conducting fluid hydrogen. The data imply that Jupiter should become metallic at 140 gigapascals in the fluid, and the electrical conductivity in the jovian molecular envelope at pressures up to metallization is about an order of magnitude larger than expected previously. The large magnetic field is produced in the molecular envelope closer to the surface than previously thought.