We know what are auroras. They are the beautiful dance of colours seen in the night sky at higher latitudes in the Northern hemisphere (Aurora borealis) or Southern hemisphere (Aurora australis).
Now we may think that the phenomenon of aurora occurs only on Earth. But auroras have been detected on other planets in the solar system as well.
In case of Earth, auroras are formed when solar wind (stream of charged particles of the Sun) interacts with Earth’s magnetic field. The solar particles then travel along the magnetic lines and then interact with upper atmosphere of the Earth. It is then the mesmerising dance of colours is seen.
Magnetic field of the Earth plays a large part in formation of auroras.
Scientists now know how Mars, a planet without a magnetic field of its own is able to form auroras.
Mars did have a magnetic field. But it decayed very early in its life. So how are martian auroras formed after all?
Scientists say that there are regions of localised magnetic field still present on Mars, particularly in the southern hemisphere. These localised magnetic fields help in the formation of martian auroras.
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“We have the first detailed study looking at how solar wind conditions affect auroras on Mars,” said physicist and astronomer Zachary Girazian of the University of Iowa. he was quoted by ScienceAlert.
“Our main finding is that inside the strong crustal field region, the aurora occurrence rate depends mostly on the orientation of the solar wind magnetic field, while outside the strong crustal field region, the occurrence rate depends mostly on the solar wind dynamic pressure.”
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