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Discrete Auroras On Mars Captured by Hope

Discrete Auroras On Mars:

The UAE’s Hope spacecraft, which is orbiting Mars since February this year, has captured images of glowing atmospheric lights known as discrete auroras.

Uniqueness of these auroras:

  • Unlike auroras on Earth, which are seen only near the north and south poles, discrete auroras on Mars are seen all around the planet at night time.
  • Auroras are caused when charged particles ejected from the Sun’s surface — called the solar wind — enter the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • These particles are harmful, and our planet is protected by the geomagnetic field, which preserves life by shielding us from the solar wind.
  • However, at the north and south poles, some of these solar wind particles are able to continuously stream down, and interact with different gases in the atmosphere to cause a display of light in the night sky.
  • This display, known as an aurora, is seen from the Earth’s high latitude regions (called the auroral oval), and is active all year round.

Aurora borealis and australis:

  • In the northern part of our globe, the polar lights are called aurora borealis or Northern Lights.
  • In the south, they are called aurora australis or southern lights, and are visible from high latitudes in Antarctica, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia.

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