For the first time in the history of mankind, researchers have been able to predict occurrence of Auroras visible to naked eye on a planet other than Earth. An international team of researchers captured aurora on the Red Planet suggesting that it’s atmosphere is much more similar our Earth than previously thought.
Researchers from the Aalto University in Finland depicted that depending on the activity of the Sun, Mars changed its blue color. To show aurora, scientists used numerical simulation and laboratory experiment called the Planeterrella, used to stimulate the aurora.
“The study indicates that the strongest colour in the Martian aurorae is deep blue. Green and red also occur, just like on Earth. An astronaut looking up while walking on the red Martian soil would be able, after intense solar eruptions, to see the phenomena with the naked eye,” said Cyril Simon Wedlund, researcher at the department of radio science and engineering, Aalto University, Finland.
While explaining aurora, Wedlund said that they occur when electrically charged particles enters a planetary atmosphere and excite its atoms and molecules in the presence of local magnetic field lines.
This isn’t the first time that aurora has been seen on the Red Planet. Back in 2005 European Space Agency ESA’s Mars Express satellite first showed depicted aurora on the Mars.
On Earth aurorae are generally red or green, due presence of atomic oxygen, however, one can sometimes also witness blue-purple due to ionized molecular oxygen.
The study appeared in the journal Planetary and Space Science