Tag Archives: northern lights

Auroras on Other Planets

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Auroras on Other Planets

A guest (Maurice Cotterell?, Walter Cruttenden?, someone else?) on the show a month or so back was asked by a caller if northern lights occurred on other planets. The guest said no.

However, auroras do occur on most of the other planets. Auroras have been observed on Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Venus, and Mars. That leaves only Mercury as the lone planet where an aurora has never been observed. In addition, Jupiter’s moons, Io, Europa, and Ganymede, have been observed with auroras.

Auroras on Jupiter, Saturn, and Io
This is a composite of three images showing auroras on Jupiter, Saturn, and Io.


Northern Lights

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Northern Lights
Fish-eye lens view of the northern lights taken mid July 2004.

Lights along the northern horizon give an orange cast to the low clouds while alluring green and purple hues of the aurora borealis or northern lights glow powered by energetic particles at the edge of space.

The Big Dipper in the constellation Ursa Major is on the left and on the right is Queen Cassiopeia in the constellation Cassiopeia. Between them in the middle, is the Little Dipper in the constellation Ursa Minor. The end of the Little Dippers handle is Polaris, known as the North Star.


Credit: Philippe Moussette at Observatoire Mont Cosmos, Quebec, Canada

Northern Lights

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Northern Lights
EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska — The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, shines above Bear Lake here January 18, 2005. The lights are the result of solar particles colliding with gases in Earth’s atmosphere. Early Eskimos and Indians believed different legends about the Northern Lights, such as they were the souls of animals dancing in the sky or the souls of fallen enemies trying to rise again.


Credit: U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Strang