NASA Captures Breathtaking New Images of Saturn

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Image Credit: NASA/JPL/ASI/University of Arizona/University of Leicester⁣

What. A. Photo.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration recently captured this photo of Saturn showing these mysterious yet captivating fluorescent colors that are a result of auroras at the planet’s north and south poles. 

NASA said in an Instagram post:

“This false-color composite image, constructed from data obtained by our Cassini spacecraft, shows the glow of auroras streaking out about 1,000 kilometers or 600 miles from the cloud tops of Saturn’s south polar region.⁣

The upper layers in the atmospheres of gas giants — Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune — are hot, just like Earth’s. But unlike Earth, the Sun is too far from these outer planets to account for the high temperatures. ⁣

New analysis of Cassini’s data finds a viable explanation for what’s keeping the upper layers of Saturn, and possibly the other gas giants, so hot: auroras at the planet’s north and south poles. Electric currents, triggered by interactions between solar winds and charged particles from Saturn’s moons, spark the auroras and heat the upper atmosphere.⁣”

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