Fourth of July might be coming up soon to light up the summer night skies, but it seems that one of our neighbors in the solar system is putting on their own light show.
Normally the largest planet in the solar system is no stranger to having auroras - which are significantly stronger than the ones on Earth - fill up the planet's skies. According to scientists, lately the lights on the giant gas planet have been more visually stunning than usual.
The researchers' notice of the different lights in Jupiter's skies is due to the Juno spacecraft entering the planet's orbit in the upcoming week.
Juno's entering of the orbit will help give scientists a better understanding of the effect of solar winds on the planet's auroras. Previous research established that Jupiter's auroras have other factors that also affect these auroras. One of those factors is the giant magnetosphere, which enhances the luminosity of the lights with highly charged particles and the added charged particles from Io, one of Jupiter's moons.
"These auroras are very dramatic and among the most active I have ever seen," said University of Leicester astronomist Jonathan Nichols. "It almost seems as if Jupiter is throwing a firework party for the imminent arrival of Juno."
Upon the success of Juno's travels into the planet's orbit, scientists could have a plethora of information to help further the current understanding of how the auroras on Jupiter function.
If it were possible for a person to look up from the giant planet, people would still be unable to see the auroras filling up the sky, due to the fact that the auroras are barely visible to the naked eye.
The data collected from Juno could potentially allow scientists to see the possible red lights without ultraviolet assistance. Previous exploration by the 1990s spacecraft Galileo has observed the auroras in the night side.