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Feb 12, 2014 9:34 AM by Stephen Bowers

Auroras Dazzle, Even on Saturn

NASA's Cassini spacecraft spotted an earthly feature during the craft's orbit around Saturn.

The video below from shows the video pieced together by scientists of aurora displays on the gas giant. The aurora is caused by interaction between solar wind and the magnetic field of Saturn, which is very similar to the auroras seen on Earth. reports the auroras on Saturn glow mainly red and purple. The color is determined by the most abundant gases in the upper atmosphere. Hydrogen is a common gas on Saturn that dictates the color of the auroras, while on Earth the primary gases affecting the auroras' colors are oxygen and nitrogen.

Researchers expect auroras on Saturn to grow more abundant as we approach part of the eleven-year solar cycle when the sun ejects more energy into space.


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