The aurora borealis form on Earth when charged particles from the sun collide with our planet’s atmosphere. By comparison, at Jupiter and Saturn, the charged particles driving this phenomenon come from volcanic eruptions on their neighboring moons. Meanwhile, something unusual was observed on the second of these planets.
does Saturn Extremely aurora borealis driven by atmospheric winds generated by the planet itself. The researchers used the WM Keck Observatory on Mauna Kea in Hawaii to study the type of winds that circulate around the gas giant’s upper layers. The near-infrared spectrometer (NIRSPEC) allows the determination of currents.
As a result, researchers determined that Saturn’s weather system is powered by the thermosphere. On the other hand, the winds in the ionosphere are responsible for generating the bright aurora. Importantly, these winds are to some extent responsible for the changing rotation of a massive planet.
Research is important not only for the worlds of the solar system. Scientists say this could change the way we understand auroras on exoplanets orbiting other stars.
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