Amazing Auroras over Jupiter

June 30, 2016

Best known for its Giant Red Spot, now Jupiter has another stunning decoration: An aurora at the top of the solar system's largest planet.


Images of auroras on Jupiter — which are larger than the Earth — were taken by an ultraviolet camera aboard the Hubble Space Telescope.


“These auroras are very dramatic and among the most active I have ever seen,” said astronomer Jonathan Nichols from the University of Leicester in the U.K., in a statement.


Auroras are created when high-energy particles enter a planet’s atmosphere near its magnetic poles and collide with atoms of gas, NASA said.


Jupiter's auroras are hundreds of times more energetic than those here on Earth and were first spotted by the Voyager probe in 1979.


While we're wowed by these images, scientists are anxiously watching NASA's Juno spacecraft as it prepares to enter orbit around Jupiter on Monday. The $1 billion ship has spent almost five years traveling to the giant planet, where it will study what lies beneath the swirling clouds.


“It almost seems as if Jupiter is throwing a firework party for the imminent arrival of Juno,” Nichols said.




Source: USA Today

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