Hubble spots fascinating auroras on Jupiter - See pic!
Astronomers, using Hubble Space Telescope's ultraviolet sensing equipment, have released images of stunning auroras swirling at the Jupiter's poles.
Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system, is best known for its colorful storms, the most famous being the Great Red Spot. The giant planet also hosts some stunning light shows.
Astronomers are using Hubble telescope to study auroras - stunning light shows in a planet’s atmosphere - on Jupiter's poles in a bid to unravel what causes these massive light shows.
Auroras are created when high-energy particles enter a planet’s atmosphere near its magnetic poles and collide with atoms of gas, explains NASA.
This observation program is supported by measurements made by NASA’s Juno spacecraft, schedule to arrive at Jupiter at the start of next week on July 4.
As well as producing beautiful images, this program aims to determine how various components of Jupiter’s auroras respond to different conditions in the solar wind, a stream of charged particles ejected from the sun.
“These auroras are very dramatic and among the most active I have ever seen”, said Jonathan Nichols from the University of Leicester, UK, and principal investigator of the study. “It almost seems as if Jupiter is throwing a firework party for the imminent arrival of Juno.”
While Hubble is observing and measuring the auroras on Jupiter, Juno is measuring the properties of the solar wind itself; a perfect collaboration between a telescope and a space probe.
To highlight changes in the auroras Hubble is observing Jupiter almost daily for several months.
The new observations and measurements made with Hubble and Juno will help to better understand how the sun and other sources influence auroras, adds NASA.