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Jupiter's Massive Aurora Lights Photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope

Jul 04, 2016 03:13 AM EDT
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Fond of the Northern lights? Well, there's another place where aurora lights can be seen, but it's not on Earth but in the Northern hemisphere of Jupiter.

NASA/ESA's Hubble Space Telescope recently photographed Jupiter's aurora lights. Scientists and astronomers are using the Hubble Space Telescope to conduct a study on auroras occurring on Jupiter's Northern hemisphere. With the Juno spacecraft entering the Jupiter's orbit, its data contributions greatly help the study of the planet's auroras.

NASA declared Jupiter's storm as the most colorful in the Solar System just like its Red Great Spot. Now, the astronomers are marveling at another colorful feature of Jupiter using the innovative capabilities of the Hubble Space Telescope.

The auroras are created with high-energy particles that come in contact with a planet's atmosphere near the magnetic poles and collide with atoms of gas. The research aims to investigate how Jupiter's auroras respond to different conditions including solar wind, the charged particles from the sun. And along with the goal, the study also produces the best images of the planet's auroras.

"These auroras are very dramatic and among the most active I have ever seen", Jonathan Nichols from the University of Leicester and principal investigator of the study in a statement. "It almost seems as if Jupiter is throwing a firework party for the imminent arrival of Juno."

The study is perfectly timed, as the Juno spacecraft will enter the orbit of Jupiter. The measurement done by the Hubble Space Telescope will be compensated with Juno's data on the solar winds on the planet.

Jupiter's aurora is a lot more different and colorful than that of the Earth. The mass of the planet's aurora is bigger than the surface of Earth, it also lit up the northern part of Jupiter non-stop and is more energetic compared to Earth-borne auroras, according to Times.

Astronomers and the public cannot hide their admiration of this celestial extravaganza when NASA released the photograph, some call it a "fireworks" display worthy of the biggest planet in the Solar System, according to PetaPixel.

The study will also provide answers as to how solar winds affect auroras in different planets in the Solar System.

 

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