NASA Spots Purple Lightening Coming From Planet

NASA has released a remarkable photograph showing a green neon light shining through Jupiter’s cloudy atmosphere.

According to researchers, the light comes from crackling lightning near the planet’s north pole, just like on Earth.

Unlike on Earth, where lightning strikes are often observed towards the equator, Jupiter’s lightning is expected to originate in clouds carrying an ammonia-water solution and is primarily visible at the poles. 

The Juno spacecraft took This breathtaking photo during its 31st close flyby of Jupiter, at a distance of around 19,900 miles above the planet’s cloud tops.

The photograph was taken by the JunoCam instrument on board the spacecraft in December 2020, but it wasn’t published until Thursday because a citizen scientist had to wait until 2022 to analyze the data.

Jovian lightning was discovered in March 1979 when the Voyager 1 probe passed by Jupiter and witnessed the natural occurrence for the first time.

And it wasn’t until Juno made the trip to Jupiter that scientists realized Jovian lightning is identical to Earth’s.

But before Juno, spacecraft could only collect lightning flashes in two ways: visually or from the kilohertz band of the radio spectrum, despite a hunt for signals in the megahertz range. Many explanations were proposed, but none ever gained widespread acceptance.

Since 2016, Juno has been on a mission to Jupiter, taking pictures of the tumultuous planet in the hopes that they may shed light on its mysterious nature.

In contrast to Earth, where lightning can originate from any cloud, an ammonia-water solution is required for lightning to strike the alien world.

Since the polar regions are cooler than the rest of Jupiter, rising heated gases from the planet’s interior might cause convection and provide the necessary components for lightning because of the lack of atmospheric stability. 

Electric blue “sprites” and “elves” may be seen dancing in Jupiter’s atmosphere, as photographed by Juno.

These light flashes are the first to be seen on another planet, while they are common during a rainstorm on Earth.

Around 60 miles above major thunderstorms on Earth, these brief, intense bursts of light (called flares) tend to emerge.

Elves appear as flattened light discs extending up to 200 miles across the sky, and sprites resemble jellyfish with long tentacles flowing down toward the ground.

In 2020, Juno’s crew witnessed the celestial spectacles 186 miles above the water-cloud layer, where the gas giant’s lightning is most concentrated.

Due to the high altitude where most of Jupiter’s lightning develops, scientists could also rule out the possibility that they were merely huge bolts of lightning.