This image is a composite of photos of Saturn made in 2018 in visible light and in ultraviolet light in 2017 that features auroras in Saturn’s north pole region. In contrast to the auroras on Earth the auroras on Saturn are only visible in the ultraviolet. ESA/Hubble, NASA, A. Simon (GSFC) and the OPAL Team, J. DePasquale (STScI), L. Lamy (Observatoire de Paris)
Auroras are not unique to Earth. They occur at every planet except Mercury. Venus and Mars have minor, patchy auroras compared to Earth’s, but Jupiter’s and Saturn’s displays are massive befitting their physical size and enormous magnetic fields.
In 2017, over a period of seven months, scientists used the Hubble Space Telescope to take photos of Saturn’s north pole region in ultraviolet light. While the still images clearly show an oval crown of aurora just like the northern oval, be sure to check out the video. The time lapse shows that the aurora is a shape-shifting creature no matter the planet.
Saturn’s northern auroras — Watch ’em go!
On both Earth and Saturn, auroras are mainly created by electrons and protons — particles that make up hydrogen atoms — blown into space in the form of the ...