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Hubble views aurora on ringed planet.

Corralled by Earth's magnetic field, the sun's wind of charged particles crashes into atmospheric molecules at the poles, creating the dazzling display of colors known as an aurora. Now, the Hubble Space Telescope has taken the first image of Saturn's aurora, some 2,000 kilometers above the cloud tops near the north and south poles of the ringed planet.

Unlike the terrestrial light show, Saturn's lies in the far-ultraviolet, a set of wavelengths absorbed by Earth's atmosphere. Because Saturn's magnetic pole aligns nearly perfectly with the planet's axis of rotation, the auroral "ring" is centered directly on the pole.
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Title Annotation:Hubble Space Telescope
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Nov 18, 1995
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