– Many objects in space are so large that it’s almost impossible to picture they could be real, but they are. For example, an aurora on Jupiter is blue and it can be bigger than the size of Earth!
To see an aurora on Jupiter is not a unique event. Jupiter has a permanent ring of auroral light surrounding each of its poles. it has long been believed that the light originates from Io, but new research suggest the Sun also plays a vital role in creating the lights.
Io can control Jupiter’s auroras over long timescales, but “this does not rule out contributions from the solar wind,” says Margaret Kivelson of the University of California, Los Angeles. Although a lot is known about the blue light, there are still some mysteries to be solved. Scientists must attempt to find out how the charged particles are accelerated along Jupiter’s magnetic field lines.
Using the Hubble Space Telescope’s ultraviolet sensing equipment, researchers were able to capture a Jovian aurora bigger than the size of the Earth. The image, seen here, was released by the European Space Agency (ESA) and is actually a composite of two shots. The first is an optical shot taken by Hubble in spring 2014 and the second comes from its ultraviolet sensors and was taken in 2016.
People sometimes think auroras only appear on our planet, but that’s not the case. Astronomers have observed these stunning lights on many alien worlds including Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus, mars, Pluto and even on brown dwarfes.
Auroras on alien worlds very in size and color and they are stunningly beautiful.