Saturn has its own unique brand of aurora that lights up the polar cap, unlike any other planetary aurora known in our solar system. This odd aurora revealed itself to one of the infrared instruments on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.
“We’ve never seen an aurora like this elsewhere,” said Tom Stallard, a scientist working with Cassini data at the University of Leicester, England. Stallard is lead author of a paper that appears in the Nov. 13 issue of the journal Nature. “It’s not just a ring of auroras like those we’ve seen at Jupiter or Earth. This aurora covers an enormous area across the pole. Our current ideas on what forms Saturn’s aurora predict that this region should be empty, so finding such a bright aurora here is a fantastic surprise.”
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