Image of an aurora seen from Earth. CC0 Public Domain

Unravelling the mysteries of cosmic light shows

31 May 2024

A team of researchers led by Professor Binzheng Zhang from the University of Hong Kong has made a significant advance in our understanding of the diverse aurorae across different planets. They have developed a comprehensive framework that accounts for the various auroral structures observed on Earth, Saturn, and Jupiter.

The findings, published in Nature Astronomy, suggest that the structure of global auroral morphologies is determined by the interplay between planet-driven plasma rotation and solar-wind-driven flow convection. This insight not only deepens our understanding of the aurorae in our solar system but also extends to the study of aurorae in exoplanetary systems.

This research marks a significant step forward in understanding auroral patterns across planets and enriches our knowledge of diverse planetary space environments. It sets the stage for improved space weather prediction and exploration of the magnetic environments of the solar system.

The study has shed light on the complex interaction between solar wind and planetary rotation, offering a deeper understanding of aurorae across different planets.