I have been working on an habitable moon orbiting a gas giant about 3 times the mass of jupiter and lately I have been having issues assessing how the giant's magnetosphere may affect it. To give you an idea of the situation the moon orbits at a distance that allows for a 36 hours long orbital period, so about 544477 kms and has a comfy atmosphere abundant with greenhouse and shielding gases.

My main concerns are: with the moon orbiting at that distance, how likely is that it the gas giant's magnetic field could irradiate it to a point that it would become inospitable? And if that is so, what measures do I need to take in order to avoid it?

On that note I figured that by inclining the moon's orbit to the planet's plane by about 5 to 10 degrees the moon would be able to avoid intersecting the gas giant's magnetotail thus avoiding the brunt of the irradiation. Would that be helpful?

And on another note, can the magnetic field be a problem to the development of an advanced civilization on this moon? And if it is a problem, what measures can be taken to lessen it's ill effects?

I personally thought about the moon itself having a magnetic field thanks to it's molten, irony core, thus essentially providing a bit of additional shielding, but I am not too sure, do you think it would help/be possible?

A little addendum. I envisioned the planet to have a biosphere pretty similar to earth's. With complex organisms, the five kingdoms and intelligent humanoids. The main differences that I thought about would be: an abundance of plantlife and forests across most of the planet's surface and kelp forests in the waters (60-65% of the planet would be underwater), animals living there would be cancer resistant.

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    $\begingroup$ Which kind of habitability - evolved or people from space made a home there? Also by hill effect u mean Hill–Robertson effect or it is a slang? $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Aug 15, 2021 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ MolbOrg. Habitability for evolved intelligent living beings. And that 'hill' was a typo, I meant 'ill' as in negative. $\endgroup$ Aug 15, 2021 at 16:17
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    $\begingroup$ So then by definition the life is adapted, and there are enough examples of high radiation resistant multicellular life. I mean there are all sorts of environmental conditions(like Willks answer) and life shapes which can thrive(swarms), so as all sorts of conditions which would prevent life from forming at all. In oceans radiation isn't a big deal... So you probably could improve the q with information what kind of ecosystem you envision, maybe little more about that moon as well. But general answer there is no big problem and Willk's answer is good illustration of that. $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Aug 15, 2021 at 18:44
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    $\begingroup$ A molten, irony core is a core made of molten iron. A molten irony core is a core made of molten irony :D $\endgroup$ Aug 15, 2021 at 19:09
  • $\begingroup$ MolbOrg Good point I'll add the information now $\endgroup$ Aug 15, 2021 at 19:11

2 Answers 2


Saturn style.

Radiation associated with magnetic fields is particle radiation - charged particles accelerated by the fields. The solar wind is comprised of such particles. As I understand it, a lot of the radiation associated with Jupiter's magnetic field are accelerated charged particles originating from volcanoes on its moon Io.

Saturn is a gas giant fair and square but it does not have an Io equivalent and instead has sweet rings.


Saturn has relatively weak radiation belts, because energetic particles are absorbed by the moons and particulate material orbiting the planet...The electrons in the main belt probably originate in the outer magnetosphere or Solar wind, from which they are transported by the diffusion and then adiabatically heated...The main radiation belt of Saturn is strongly influenced by interplanetary solar wind disturbances.[47]

The innermost region of the magnetosphere near the rings is generally devoid of energetic ions and electrons because they are absorbed by ring particles...

The saturnian radiation belts are generally much weaker than those of Jupiter and do not emit much microwave radiation..

Your gas giant also has rings and these intercept and drink up a lot of the particulate radiation from the solar wind that might otherwise be available to get accelerated and whack into your inhabited moon. Plus the rings will be very cool looking from your planet.

A little magnetophere of its own for your moon would help deflect any remaining particles. Unlike the rocky planets which must generate a magnetosphere by virtue of an internal dynamo (like Earth) or not (like Mars) your moon could have a magnetosphere simply because it is conductive. A conductive body moving through a magnetic field will produce a current which produces a magnetic field opposing the external one: electromagnetic induction.

  • $\begingroup$ Oh thank you for your answer, but please can you also answer the other question? About wether or not the magnetosphere could be a problem to the technological development of an advanced civilization? $\endgroup$ Aug 15, 2021 at 19:19
  • $\begingroup$ Earth life advancement has done well with our own magnetosphere. I am not sure how its absence would have hurried things along. Having a magnetosphere to keep the atmosphere from being stripped away has definitely been a plus for tech development. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Aug 15, 2021 at 20:05
  • $\begingroup$ Willk No no no. You misunderstood, what i'd like to know is if the gas giant's magnetosphere, which would be probably several thousands times more powerful than earth's, would hinder the development of electronics on my world and if it would, I'd like to know how to mitigate the problem. *Plus I know very well that a strong magnetic field is fundamental for the development of life. $\endgroup$ Aug 15, 2021 at 20:11
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    $\begingroup$ @JuimyTheHyena - check the wikipedia link. Saturn's magnetic field is a lot larger that Earths but it is "slightly weaker". Not all gas giants have got megamagnetism! $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Aug 16, 2021 at 0:10
  • $\begingroup$ Willk Wow...the more you know. This is actually perfect...I could have the giant not have as much metals as jupiter because they went into moon formation! Excellent suggestion. $\endgroup$ Aug 16, 2021 at 15:48

Anyone interested in the hypthetical habitability of exomoons should look up a number of papers by Rene Heller and various co authors.

Here is a link to a list of some published papers by Heller:

And here are links to some papers by Heller which I have looked at or else have exomoon habitability in their titles:









Possiblly they may help you.

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    $\begingroup$ Could you provide at least a summary of the content of those papers? $\endgroup$ Aug 15, 2021 at 19:07
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    $\begingroup$ None of these links work $\endgroup$ Aug 15, 2021 at 20:17

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