The auroras, both the Borealis and the australis are also known as the northern lights and the southern lights. They are a natural phenomenon that occurs in some parts of the earth. From the prior knowledge of the aurora, the northern lights occur in the northern hemisphere while the southern lights occur in the southern hemisphere. Both can be seen in different countries of the earth. Some are the UK, Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, and much more. However, this natural phenomenon (aurora borealis and australis) is not limited to the planet earth alone. It can be seen in other planets of the universe. The space aurora borealis may come as a surprise to you but it shouldn’t be a surprise.
It has been confirmed by space scientist that some of the closest neighboring planets such as Mars, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune have their own auroras. Auroras that are similar to the one found on earth has been seen on some planets. These are Saturn, Uranus, and Jupiter. Mercury is the only planet where the aurora has not been seen.
How do auroras occur on other planets?
The occurrence of the aurora lights on other planets is similar to that of the earth. Though for Venus and Mars, they occur from a different process. On other planets apart from Venus and Mars, the aurora is formed when the solar winds come in contact with the planet with highly charged particles. The planet’s magnetic field then deflects a lot of them before they get to the atmosphere. Often, these winds are boosted by coronal mass ejections or solar flares that release a large amount of plasma.
Some of the ionized particles then get trapped in the magnetic field as soon as these intense solar winds get to any of the planets. These particles that are trapped in the magnetic field are then accelerated along the field lines toward the poles where they can enter the upper atmosphere. They then collide with gas particles that cause them to emit bright light. This process gives birth to the mesmerizing aurora borealis and aurora australis.
However, talking about Venus and Mars, the aurora borealis from space forms in a different way. These two planets do not have any significant magnetic field even though they have an atmosphere. On Venus, the scientist found out that as the solar wind interacts with the layer of the atmosphere with the most charged particles which are also known as Venusian ionosphere. This induces a magnetic field which now stretches out away from the sun. It then give a magnetotail which redirects the particles that are accelerated into the atmosphere and forms the aurora.
Also, the Mars’s atmosphere is too thin that the same process as the other planets cannot occur there. Aurora is created here by localized magnetic fields buried in the planet’s crust. These are the remains of a larger, global magnetic field that disappeared as the core of the planets cooled. The interaction between the mars atmosphere and the solar winds result in distinct auroras that are restricted to the regions of crustal fields.
Occurrence of space aurora borealis
The aurora has occurred on many planets of the universe and these are:
On this planet, the auroras borealis from space appear near areas of magnetized rock within the crust of the planet rather than near the poles, when charged solar particles concentrate toward them. Scientists discovered that the light emission’s location is equivalent with the location of the strongest magnetic fields found on Mars. The type of aurora formation found on mars is totally unique.
Though the planet Venus has been said to have a different process of aurora formation compared to that of earth, scientist discovered that the same process that causes auroras on Earth can form a gigantic magnetic bubble around Venus, allowing auroras to occur. This is possible because of the magnetotail possessed by Venus.
The size of Saturn’s aurora is different for that of the earth. They can extend to an amazing height of 621 miles above Saturn’s cloud tops. On this planet, the aurora is not visible to the human eye. The emitted light lies in an infrared and ultraviolet spectrum we can’t see. Just like on earth, Saturn’s auroras occur near the planet’s poles.
Many of the space aurora borealis and australis formed on Jupiter are due to the trapping of particles within its own magnetic environment. Unlike Saturn, the main aurora ring of Jupiter maintains a constant size. Just like Saturn, the moons of Jupiter are also believed to possibly have the ability to influence the space auroras.
Unlike on Earth, the space aurora borealis formed on this giant ice planet appear far away from the south and north poles. The auroras here are fainter than that of Earth. They last only a couple of minutes, unlike those on our planet Earth, which may last for hours. Hubble Space Telescope detected the presence of auroras on Uranus in 2011.
Finally, seeing the space aurora borealis on other planets is as amazing as seeing them on earth. They display different colors that please the eye.