News Good News Jupiter puts on rare and stunning light show
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Jupiter puts on rare and stunning light show

The NASA image of Jupiter's auroras
NASA's image of Jupiter's auroras. Photo: NASA Photo: NASA
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Earth isn’t the only planet to have shimmering auroras — and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has captured Jupiter’s in action.

The space agency has released a composite video showing a dancing blue glow near the gas giant’s north pole.

Watch the telescope footage:

The images show the same phenomenon that occurs on Earth – the light waves produced by the interaction of the planet’s magnetic fields with its atmosphere.

The Jupiter auroras, though, reach intensities over 1000 times brighter than those above Earth.

On Earth, auroras are produced by powerful plasma storms of highly charged particles from the Sun that slam into the Earth at 6.4 million kilometres per hour, causing the planet’s magnetic field to vibrate like jelly.

But on Jupiter, they are generated by particles spewed into the planet’s magnetosphere by eruptions from its volcanic moon Io.

And on Saturn, which is also home to the phenomenon, the glow is created by particles from geysers shooting out of the ice moon Escalades entering the planet’s magnetosphere.

The video of Jupiter’s auroras was captured on May 19, but image of Jupiter itself in the video was taken at a different time by Hubble’s Outer Planet Atmosphere Legacy program, a long-term project that captures global maps of the outer planets each year.