Scientists finally understand the origins of Jupiter’s strange blue ring

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Originally discovered in 1994, the beautiful blue ring above the gas giant’s north and south poles are formed on the nightside of the planet. As it rotates, and dawn breaks on the planet, the auroral features become more luminous.

It is estimated that between hundreds and thousands of gigawatts of ultraviolet light are beamed into space from the planet, 10 times greater than that of a the typical aurora.

Despite the huge amounts of energy that were given out, the aurora has been hidden from scientists’ view. This is because, prior to Nasa’s Juno mission that was launched in 2016, the view had only been visible from the side – hiding everything that happened on the nightside of the planet.

“Observing Jupiter’s aurora from Earth does not allow you to see beyond the limb, into the nightside of Jupiter’s poles. Explorations by other spacecraft – Voyager, Galileo, Cassini – happened from relatively large distances and did not fly over the poles, so they could not see the complete picture,” Bertrand Bonfond, a researcher from the University of Liège in Belgium, explained.

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