back to article Auroras – the solar system's universal light show (except Neptune... sorry, Neptune)

Scientists have found that the fundamental mechanism behind the spectacular light shows of auroras on Earth are universal throughout the solar system. Using data from space probe BepiColombo's first flyby of Mercury, the researchers have shown the processes creating auroras on the planet closest to the Sun are shared with …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Magnetic field ?

    Don't you need an iron core for that ?

    1. Lil Endian Silver badge

      Re: Magnetic field ?

      A magnetic field is generated (in a celestial body) by a dynamo effect. That requires an electrically conductive interior - such as an iron core.


      Or, for a more sciency article -

      1. xyz Silver badge

        Re: Magnetic field ?

        Just remember that the keyword in both links is... "theory".

        1. mtp

          Re: Magnetic field ?

          The word theory does not mean what you seem to think it does.

          "A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed"

    2. Potty Professor

      Re: Magnetic field ?

      ...and an atmosphere? I understood that the light show was produced by excitation of gas molecules by the incoming electron stream, so no atmosphere should mean no aurora, or am I whistling in the dark?

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  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Universal except when it isn’t ?

    Neptune is a gas giant and therefore has some form of atmosphere.

    It also has a magnetic field more than 20 times greater than that of earth, but compared to other planets is skewed compared to its rotational axis.

    So is it just “holding it wrong” ?

    1. prandeamus

      Re: Universal except when it isn’t ?

      The other gas giant, Uranus, is the one with a very skewed rotational axis. So I doubt that's the reason, but I'm no expert. I'm posting here because it's a Friday, not because I know very much.

  4. jmch Silver badge


    "now observed at all magnetized planets, except Neptune..."

    Slightly confused by the headline and this.... Is Neptune the only planet that hasn't yet been *observed* to have auroras, or is there a fundamental reason why Neptune in particular can't have auroras?

    1. prandeamus

      Re: Neptune?

      Observed, if I understand correctly. The new discovery is that Mercury has been shown to have an aurora, and that leaves Neptune as the one where auroras have not been observed. They may be a fundamental reason (maybe the distance from Sol) but that's not certain.

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