Saturday, April 30, 2011

What a rare sight! Aurora on Saturn planet.

   Cassini-Huygens robot spacecraft get a rare opportunity to capture a picture of Aurora on Saturn planet using ultraviolet imaging spectrograph. Aurora is form when a charged particle such as ions or electrons collide with magnetic field (in this case electron collide with Saturn magnetic field). Aurora usually happen in Ionosphere (upper part of atmosphere) of a planet. They are most visible closer to the poles due to the longer periods of darkness and the magnetic field.


Ultraviolent Imaging Spectograph of Saturn Aurora


   Recently, it's been discovered by scientist that aurora phenomena didn't just occur in earth. Aurora has been witness on poles of other planets in solar system by spacecraft or telescope. But the source of charged particle which trigger aurora happen in Jupiter and Saturn are different from Earth. When charged particles of Solar Wind collides with Earth's magnetic field, aurora will form on both poles of earth.

This artist's concept shows a glowing patch of ultraviolet light near Saturn's north pole that occurs at the 'footprint' of the magnetic connection between Saturn and its moon Enceladus.

    In Jupiter, source of charged particles is coming from it's moon, Io. Sulfur from Io's volcanic activity, split by sunlight into electrons and ions believe to be main source of charged particle which collide with Jupiter magnetic field to form an aurora at north & south pole.



  The source of charged particles which collides with Saturn magnetic field is also coming from it's moon, Enceladus. On Saturn's moon Enceladus, however, the suspected source of electrons is "cryovolcanism" - volcanic activity that shoots up liquids or, in Enceladus' case, salty ice. Cryovolcano is an ice mountain form on icy moons, and possibly on other low-temperature astronomical objects such as Kuiper Belt. Saturn's aurorae are about a 10th the intensity of those seen on Jupiter, and that they vary widely in intensity - by as much as a factor of  3.



Cryovolcaone erupt and release a lot of salty Ice into Encedalus atmosphere.

    I hope that in the future, our great great grandson will able to see Jupiter and Saturn planet closeup if people in the future able to travel across galaxy easily just like
Star Wars :D

2 comments:

  1. I thought things like this can only happen on Planet Earth. :p

    ReplyDelete
  2. I also thought aurora only happen on earth. It's actually a pretty common thing in this universe (as long as the planet got strong magnetic field) there is chance that aurora will happen

    ReplyDelete

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