Saturn aurora & # 39; s certainly look nice – BGR

Here on earth aurora are pretty neat to see. The phenomenon, usually called "the Northern Lights", is well understood by scientists. They occur when charged particles from the sun are channeled to the poles of the earth via the magnetic field of our planet. These particles then interact with different gases in the Earth's atmosphere and create a brilliant light show in the night sky.

We could consider aurora as special to the earth, but in reality they are possible on every planet with a magnetic field and an atmosphere. Saturn happens to be one of those planets and researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope have recently seen what the aurora's look like at the north pole of Saturn.

The image you see above is actually a composite. The auroras that are observed on Saturn occur in ultraviolet wavelengths, so they are not visible when we look at the planet in what we know as visible light. What you see are the ultraviolet images of Saturn aurora layered over another image of Saturn in the visible spectrum taken at a later date.

As the European Space Agency observes along with the release of the images, the aurora of Saturn occur in these wavelengths due to the fact that the planet's atmosphere is hydrogen-rich. On earth visible aurora & # 39; s occur thanks to the presence of oxygen and nitrogen, creating the colorful brushstrokes of light in the air. Yet Hubble's instruments can still see how they illuminate the poles of the planet.

A video, as seen above, shows a succession of different aurora observations over a short period of time and suggests that the auroras of Saturn rotate and revolve like those we usually see on Earth. You could not see them with the naked eye, but they are there.

"The variability of the aurora is influenced by both the solar wind and the rapid rotation of Saturn, which lasts only about 11 hours", writes ESA. "In addition, the northern aurora shows two clear peaks in clarity – at sunrise and just before midnight." The last peak, previously unreported, appears to be specific for the interaction of the solar wind with the magnetosphere at the solstice of Saturn. "

Image source: NASA, ESA and L. Lamy

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