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IPFS News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Scientists on Earth Spot Aurora Around Uranus

•, by Max Eddy

When Voyager 2 made its flyby of the strangely tilted planet Uranus, scientists got their first glimpse of what an aurora looked like on the icy blue planet. However, such lights have never been observed on Uranus from Earth, until last year when a team of scientists used careful planning and the Hubble Telescope to watch the lights on the distant planet. 

The international team’s research will be published today in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Wanting to catch auroras on another planet took some planning, however, as auroras are caused by the interaction between charged particles from the sun and a planet’s magnetic field. The team first had to wait for a particular arrangement of planets meant that the solar wind from our star would have a clear shot at Uranus.