Jupiter’s amazing aurora light show caught on camera

Image: NASA/ESA/Handout via Reuters

Emma Luxton
Senior Writer , Forum Agenda
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Space is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:


Ever since humans have been able to glimpse Jupiter’s swirling storms and mysterious red spot (twice as wide as planet Earth), the planet has been regarded as one of unusual beauty.

Now the powerful Hubble Space Telescope has allowed astronomers to capture images of another stunning sight: Jupiter’s luminous auroras.

Caused by high-energy particles colliding with the planet’s atmosphere, the auroras are seen lighting up Jupiter’s North Pole.

 Auroras created by high-energy particles are seen on a pole of the planet Jupiter in a NASA composite of two separate images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.  NASA/ESA/Handout via Reuters   THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - RTX2J261
Image: NASA/ESA/Handout via Reuters

The observation of the vivid glows coincides with the arrival of the Juno probe, which is expected to enter the planet’s orbit in early July.

The spacecraft will spend the next 20 months studying the planet’s solar winds from just above the clouds.

Jupiter’s aurora displays are more intense than those seen on Earth, and are caused by solar winds along with charged particles from the planet’s volcanic moon.

Jupiter’s light shows are also constant, due to Jupiter’s strong magnetic field.


Jonathan Nichols, principal investigator of the study said: “These auroras are very dramatic and among the most active I have ever seen.”

Data from both Juno and Hubble is expected to give astronomers a better understanding of the sun’s influence on auroras, as well as getting to know more about the planet’s microwaves, atmosphere and magnetic field.

“It almost seems,” Nichols said, “as if Jupiter is throwing a firework party for the imminent arrival of Juno”.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum