07 December 2016

Jupiter's aurorae

"Jupiter has aurorae. Like Earth, the magnetic field of the gas giant funnels charged particles released from the Sun onto the poles. As these particles strike the atmosphere, electrons are temporarily knocked away from existing gas molecules. Electric force attracts these electrons back. As the electrons recombine to remake neutral molecules, auroral light is emitted. In the featured recently released composite image by the Hubble Space Telescope taken in ultraviolet light, the aurorae appear as annular sheets around the pole. Unlike Earth's aurorae, Jupiter's aurorae include several bright streaks and dots..."
We are entering the season when polar aurorae sometimes become visible at our latitude, so this seems an appropriate time to note that Jupiter also exhibits similar phenomena.  Text and image via NASA'a Astronomy Photo of the Day.

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