NASA space probe detects northern lights on Jupiter

If you thought the Northern Lights were uncommon for us Earthlings, you might want to think again.

Those beautiful colors most visible in the Arctic and Antarctica are not only found on Earth – Jupiter also has Northern Lights.

The Northern Lights here on Earth are the result of charged particles from the sun interacting with the Earth’s magnetosphere to create that glow we see. There is a continuous ring of that light around the earth’s poles, but we can’t see it here in Michigan until a solar flare occurs and accelerates the flow of particles, pushing that ring south.

In the video above, you can see how Jupiter’s auroral ring is nearly identical to the ring near one of Earth’s poles, as visualized by NASA’s Juno space probe.

What’s especially interesting is that while Earth’s auroras are caused by charged particles that come here in the solar wind, on Jupiter, those charged particles come from its volcanically active moon, Io, which is the world’s most volcanically active. of the Solar System, according to NASA.


Previous missions didn’t really provide a good view of the Jovian auroras, but Juno is a polar-orbiting spacecraft, so these images are our first real deep dive into the planet’s northern lights. The new revelations about Jupiter, combined with those recently discovered on Mars, have made for an interesting year of space exploration so far!

Related: NASA uses the Navajo language to name points of interest on Mars

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