As you have read from the title, Saturn has enhanced NASA with its auroras Borealis also known as northern lights. Before getting into the subject, let’s learn something about auroras.
How does an aurora borealis occur on Earth?
During a solar flare, the sun will emit charged particles which penetrate the magnetic shield of the Earth and collide with molecules and atoms in our, and this is how the northern lights or aurora borealis occur. The little bursts of light are the result of these collisions, and they are called photons. They make up the aurora. Depending on what kind of collision, the color of the aurora changes. The oxygen collisions produce green and red auroras, while the pink and purple ones are created by nitrogen collisions. On Earth, the aurora encircles the polar regions and occur at an altitude of 40-400 miles in the “Auroral Oval.”
Other planet have auroras as well
Images of Saturn’s auroras have been captured by The Hubble Space Telescope. The pictures were taken between 2017 and 2018, and they are composite of observations made of the planet.
According to the American Geophysical Union, Neptune, Saturn, Jupiter, and Uranus all have auroras.
The auroras on Saturn can solely be seen in ultraviolet wavelengths ( an electromagnetic spectrum’s part which can only be studied from space) because all of these planets’ atmospheres are dominated by hydrogen.
To study them, astronomers rely on space telescopes such as the Hubble.
The aurora borealis from Earth and the ones on Saturn form in different ways. The rapid rotation of the planet and the solar wind both influence Saturns’ auroras and they last up to 11 hours compared to Earth’s northern lights which will last from 10 minutes up to the whole night depending on certain factors.
According to NASA, these pictures are the most comprehensive ever taken of Saturn’s aurora borealis.
Patrick Supernaw is the lead editor for Great Lakes Ledger. Patrick has written for many publications including The Huffington Post and Vanity Fair. Patrick is based in Ottawa and covers issues affecting his city. In addition to his severe hockey addiction, Pat also enjoys kayaking and can often be found paddling the Rideau Canal. Contact Pat here