Earth is not the only planet that was blessed to have northern lines. Saturn is one of them too and back in 2017 we got a full view of them thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope.
MORE ABOUT THE DISCOVERY AND HOW THE NORTHERN LIGHTS WORK
The grand finale of the Cassini mission aligned perfectly with this observation. Hubble and Cassini had broken the record for best pictures taken of Saturn’s aurora borealis all by working together. These pictures lead to discoveries about the northern lights.
In the picture, this phenomenon looks blue, but it is actually ultraviolet light. The image was edited in such a way and with such colors that we could see it with our eyes.
This light is emitted by Saturn’s poles when its magnetic field generates high-powered electrons that interact with the hydrogen gas. The planet’s auroras are always changing and intense because of its rapid rotation and a powerful magnetosphere.
Because Saturn’s days are only 11 hours, it achieved the summer solstice on Earth’s 24th of May because the northern pole of the planet tilted towards the Sun. This phenomenon also happens on Earth’s Northen Hemisphere during the summer solstice. While Cassini was taking some final measurements, scientists used Hubble to take pictures of the ultraviolet aurora from Saturn.
WHAT THE SCIENTISTS DISCOVERED ABOUT THE AURORA
The Saturn’s aurora looked similar to the ones we experience on Earth due to some differences in the solar wind.
The tandem of pictures and information provided by Cassini and Hubble are a great start to more important discoveries.
However, the learning process does not stop regarding how auroras work as Saturn is a spinning spheroid, like Earth with a magnetic field that generates auroras Borealis.
As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.