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Aurora on Saturn, Cassini image

Aurora on Saturn, Cassini image

C023/5793

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Credit

NASA / JPL-CALTECH / SSI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / JPL-CALTECH / SSI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Aurora on Saturn. Cassini image. Aurorae are caused by charged particles from the Sun impacting a planet's atmosphere. Aurorae on Saturn are red at the bottom and purple at the top. Saturn is the upper left half of the image, with star trails in the lower right half. The auroral colours on Saturn are different to those on Earth because Earth's aurorae are dominated by excited nitrogen and oxygen atoms and molecules, and Saturn's auroras are dominated by excited forms of hydrogen. The height of this particular part of the aurora is about 1400 kilometres. Image obtained on 29 November 2010 by the Imaging Science Subsystem on the orbiting Cassini spacecraft.

Release details

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