Alien Auroras May Light Up Exoplanet Night Skies - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Alien Auroras May Light Up Exoplanet Night Skies

YAHOO.COM - Scientists have kept a close watch on the dazzling northern lights on Earth and other planets in our solar system, but now they have the chance to explore the auroras of alien planets orbiting distant stars, a new study suggests.

Auroras on Earth occur when charged particles from the sun are funneled to the planet's poles and interact with the upper atmosphere, sparking spectacular light shows. Similar processes have been observed on other planets in the solar system, with Jupiter's auroras more than 100 times brighter than those on Earth, scientists said.

Now, scientists are finding evidence of aurora displays on exoplanets for the first time. Researchers used the Low-Frequency Array radio telescope based in The Netherlands to observe radio emissions most likely caused by powerful auroras from planets outside of our solar system.

"These results strongly suggest that auroras do occur on bodies outside our solar system, and the auroral radio emissions are powerful enough — 100,000 times brighter than Jupiter's — to be detectable across interstellar distances," study lead author Jonathan Nichols, of the University of Leicester in England, said in a statement.

Jupiter's auroras are caused by an interaction of charged particles shot from its volcanic moon, Ibo and the rotation of the planet itself. The gas giant turns on its axis once every 10 hours, dragging its magnetic field along for the ride, and effectively creating a whirl of electricity at each of the planet's poles.

Auroras akin to Earth's have been spotted on Saturn. But these newest findings show that auroras on exoplanets probably aren't formed from charged particles traveling on the solar wind. Instead, the auroras on the dim, "ultracool dwarf" stars and "failed stars" known as brown dwarfs that Nichols studied probably behave more like Jupiter's northern and southern lights.

By studying these radio emissions, scientists will gain more insight into the strength of a planet's magnetic field, how it interacts with its parent star, whether it has any moons and even the length of its day.

The new research is detailed in a recent issue of The Astrophysical Journal.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 100+ salons in Washington state have license, sanitation or safety violations

    100+ salons in Washington state have license, sanitation or safety violations

    Thursday, April 26 2018 11:16 PM EDT2018-04-27 03:16:32 GMT

    KHQ.COM - More than 100 nail salons in Washington state recently failed safety and sanitation inspections from the Washington State Department of Licensing. If you think these salons are required to post these violations publicly, think again. Unlike restaurants, there's no letter grade at the door that can tell you if the services inside have been deemed safe.

    >>

    KHQ.COM - More than 100 nail salons in Washington state recently failed safety and sanitation inspections from the Washington State Department of Licensing. If you think these salons are required to post these violations publicly, think again. Unlike restaurants, there's no letter grade at the door that can tell you if the services inside have been deemed safe.

    >>
  • Police: Driver was going 2x the speed limit in deadly crash

    Police: Driver was going 2x the speed limit in deadly crash

    Thursday, April 26 2018 2:12 AM EDT2018-04-26 06:12:50 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - What sounded like an accident has now led to charges against the woman who was behind the wheel. The driver of Tuesday night's deadly crash is being investigated for DUI and vehicular homicide. Detectives say around 9:30 p.m. a man was struck and killed by a driver as he tried to cross the street near 3rd and Liberty Park Place.   Court documents released Wednesday show that the driver, 50-year-old Tamila Lindsly, 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - What sounded like an accident has now led to charges against the woman who was behind the wheel. The driver of Tuesday night's deadly crash is being investigated for DUI and vehicular homicide. Detectives say around 9:30 p.m. a man was struck and killed by a driver as he tried to cross the street near 3rd and Liberty Park Place.   Court documents released Wednesday show that the driver, 50-year-old Tamila Lindsly, 

    >>
  • PHOTOS: All lanes of I-90 reopen after semi-truck loses load in downtown Spokane

    PHOTOS: All lanes of I-90 reopen after semi-truck loses load in downtown Spokane

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 6:25 PM EDT2018-04-25 22:25:01 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Jim Martin Trucking LLC out of Hayden, Idaho confirmed with KHQ the driver of the semi-truck involved in Wednesday's crash on I-90 in downtown Spokane is okay and is cooperating with Troopers. The driver, who was hauling crushed cars, says he was cut off by another car, which he says started the chain reaction that caused the crash. 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. - Jim Martin Trucking LLC out of Hayden, Idaho confirmed with KHQ the driver of the semi-truck involved in Wednesday's crash on I-90 in downtown Spokane is okay and is cooperating with Troopers. The driver, who was hauling crushed cars, says he was cut off by another car, which he says started the chain reaction that caused the crash. 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/