NASA's Hubble Shares Photos of Jupiter's Auroras, Taken Over 23 Years Ago

News18
·2-min read

Watching auroras on Earth seemed to have become too common, it seems.

Maybe, that is the reason why the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Hubble Telescope shared a breathtaking picture of how auroras look on Jupiter. Throwing it way back to 23 years ago on Thursday, NASA’s Hubble telescope shared pictures of Jupiter auroras that were captured in 1998. Just like on Earth, the magical wisps of colors appear on the north and south poles of the giant planet.

In its caption, NASA’s Hubble Telescope explained that the photographs were taken in ultraviolet light by it and further mentioned that the auroras are brilliant curtains of light in Jupiter’s upper atmosphere. The images show a curtain of glowing gas wrapped around Jupiter's north and south poles like a lasso. This curtain of light is known as an aurora.

The post has been liked by 1,08,387 Instagram users since it was shared on Thursday. Followers of NASA’s Hubble Telescope also expressed their views on the photograph as some described it as “impressive” while others wrote how they never thought of auroras on other planets.

According to NASA, auroras on Jupiter are formed when high-energy electrons race along the planet's magnetic field and into the upper atmosphere, where they get atmospheric gases to jump into action that causes them to glow. The American space agency further mentioned that the aurora resembles the same phenomenon that takes place on Earth's polar regions. However, as shown in the Hubble’s images, which are captured in ultraviolet light, the glowing "footprints" of three of Jupiter's largest moons: Io, Ganymede, and Europa are also visible.

According to National Geographic, aurora is a natural light that glows in the sky. The colors of auroras change from blue, red, yellow, green, and orange lights. They also change shape like softly blowing curtains. The colour of the aurora depends on the altitude at which ions strike oxygen atoms. If the interaction of ions and oxygen takes place high in the atmosphere, it produces a red glow. But the most common green aurora that is visible happens at a lower altitude.

However, they are only visible at night, and usually only appear in lower polar regions. On Earth, the auroras are visible almost every night at the Arctic and Antarctic Circles, which are about 66.5 degrees north and south of the Equator, respectively. The aurora display in the north is called aurora borealis, or northern lights while in the south, it is called aurora australis, or southern lights.