Tags: uranus | auroras | planet | telescope

Uranus Auroras Illuminate New Hubble Telescope Pics

Image: Uranus Auroras Illuminate New Hubble Telescope Pics
(Screengrab via NASA video)

By    |   Tuesday, 11 Apr 2017 12:21 PM

Uranus' auroras illuminate the planet’s atmosphere in new photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, which show the most “intense” amount of light the icy planet has ever seen.

An aurora is a “natural light display in the sky" — such as the northern lights — that appears when electrically charged planets collide into the Earth’s upper atmosphere, according to Space.com.

That’s exactly what appeared on the surface of Uranus — the seventh planet from the Sun.

“Auroras are caused by streams of charged particles like electrons that come from various origins such as solar winds, the planetary ionosphere and moon volcanism,” NASA and European Space Agency (ESA) officials said Monday, according to Space.com.

“They become caught in powerful magnetic fields and are channeled into the upper atmosphere, where their interactions with gas particles, such as oxygen or nitrogen, set off spectacular bursts of light,” the officials added.

These occurrences have been studied on planets like Jupiter and Saturn before, but collisions such as this on Uranus haven’t been examined as closely until now, according to the Daily Mail.

The space telescope shows that the auroras actually rotate with Uranus.

In fact, images taken by both the Hubble and Voyager 2 (spacecraft) show this clearly, as the images paired together the planet’s rotation with the cosmic light show appearing to travel with the orbit.

The new finding comes amid another discovery by researchers from the University of Idaho in Moscow.

These researchers came across wavy patterns on Uranus’ rings, Alpha and Beta.

“These patterns may be wakes from small moonlets orbiting exterior to these rings,” researchers wrote in a paper. “The patterns resemble those caused by the pull of Uranus’s other moons, for example Cordelia and Ophelia.”

“These moons are pretty tiny,” Rob Chancia, a co-author of the research, told New Scientist.

According to the Daily Mail, as of right now, there’s only been one spacecraft to fly past Uranus. No spacecrafts have ever orbited this particular planet.

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Uranus' auroras illuminate the planet’s atmosphere in new photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, which show the most “intense” amount of light the icy planet has ever seen.
uranus, auroras, planet, telescope
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2017-21-11
Tuesday, 11 Apr 2017 12:21 PM
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