For the first time in history, scientists have spotted a glowing aurora on a comet, despite the lack of a magnetic field and a fully-formed atmosphere. The discovery will deepen our understanding of cosmic weather out in space.
Auroras are generated by ionized particles which we might recognize from the incredible aurora borealis and australis phenomena which take place near the Earth’s magnetic poles each year.
These aren’t exclusive to our world, however, as we have spotted some form of aurora on every planet, and on some moons, in our solar system apart from Mercury.
A new, in-depth analysis of data collected by the Rosetta spacecraft as it observed the Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P/C-G) startled researchers, as they discovered a unique form of aurora, courtesy of a unique blend of solar weather and serendipity. “I’ve been studying the Earth’s auroras for five decades,” said physicist Jim Burch of the Southwest Research Institute. “Finding auroras around 67P, which lacks a magnetic field, is surprising and fascinating.” (RT)