Do other planets have auroras like we have on earth such as the "Aurora Australialis"?

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enotechris's profile pic

enotechris | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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The Auroras on Earth are caused by particles streaming from the Sun, interacting with Earth's magnetic field, which concentrates these energetic particles (ions), which in turn interact with the atmosphere to cause a glow.  So to have Auroras like Earth, a planet, or any other solar body, as a prerequisite, would have to have a magnetic field, an atmosphere, and a source of particles. How strong the magnetic field, how dense the atmosphere, and how proximal to the Sun would all factor into how brilliant or dim a light display would be. These factors dismiss almost all of the four Terrestrial Planets except Earth; Mercury has a very weak magnetic field (only 1% of Earth's), Venus has no field, and Mars doesn't have global activity, but weak, localized magnetic patches around the planet. Now the four Jovian Planets all have strong magnetic fields; but are more distal to the Sun; if we assume the Sun is the preponderant supplier of particles, then they may not have enough of a particle source to induce a glow. However, although they receive less solar radiation, there may be more energetic cosmic radiation that reaches them, and that may be enough to induce something like an Aurora.  What actually exists, we won't know until we get there! 

jilllessa's profile pic

jilllessa | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

Posted on

Auroras are caused by protons and electrons bombarding the atmosphere of a planet.  Because most planets are bombarded with electronic particles, those with a dense enough atmosphere will have auroras.  For an excellent description of the nature and cause of auroras as well as a more in-depth answer to your question, see the link below.

astrosonuthird's profile pic

astrosonuthird | Student, Kindergarten | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

I think there is but to know this I think we have to go their. Cassini Huygens went there. And there was.

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