Sci-Tech

See Hubble's scenic view of fetching auroras on Uranus

Ice giant Uranus sports shimmering auroras in a Hubble image showing off the planet's cool temperatures and enchanting rings.

Auroras happen on other planets, too.

ESA/Hubble & NASA, L. Lamy / Observatoire de Paris

NASA has spacecraft in residence at Jupiter and Saturn, so Uranus may be feeling a little neglected. Don't worry, Uranus, the Hubble Space Telescope has its eyes on you. NASA and the European Space Agency released a fascinating image of auroras on the ice-giant planet on Monday.

The picture, which combines a Voyager 2 image and Hubble's observations, shows cloud-like white spots where the auroras occurred. NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft visited Uranus in 1986 and Hubble has been eyeing the planet's auroras since 2011.

Auroras start as streams of charged particles. "They become caught in powerful magnetic fields and are channeled into the upper atmosphere, where their interactions with gas particles, such as oxygen or nitrogen, set off spectacular bursts of light," the ESA says.

The ESA refers to the auroras as "powerful shimmering regions" and notes they rotate with the planet.

You'll also notice the presence of a ring around Uranus in the image. The ice giant has at least 13 known rings. Uranus may not attract the same amount of attention as its more glamorous cousin Saturn, but it's an intriguing and still-mysterious member of our solar system.

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