NASA Audio File

Cassini Captures Ghostly Dance Of Saturn's Northern Lights
11.24.09
 
Cassini has spotted the tallest "northern lights" known in the solar system. The first video of the auroras above the northern latitudes of Saturn shows them flickering in shape and brightness high above the ringed planet. The new video reveals changes in Saturn's aurora every few minutes, in high resolution, with three dimensions. The images show a previously unseen vertical profile to the auroras, which ripple in the video like tall curtains.

Center Contact: Jia-Rui Cook, 818-354-0850
HQ Contact : Dwayne Brown, 202-358-1726
For more information: › Press Release

TRT: 1:35

Andrew Ingersoll
Cassini Imaging team member
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA

CUT 1 (:15) – Ingersoll : I saw those auroras shimmering and changing with time and sort of flicking…and I just like the action, I thought it was beautiful.
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CUT 2 (:15) – Ingersoll : We’re always looking for similarities between planets especially things that we can compare with Earth, and in fact the auroras on Saturn have a lot of similarities with the auroras on Earth.
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CUT 3 (:30) – Ingersoll : You can see the aurora in certain wavelengths even from Earth. Hubble sees the ultraviolet aurora and what’s new is that we’re up close with Cassini and that allows us to see details that we’ve never seen before. And of course the Cassini cameras are using visible light so this is the first time we’ve gotten really nice images in visible light.
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CUT 4 (:13) – Ingersoll : There’s Northern Lights and Southern Lights and they’re both near the poles on Earth and that’s also true on Saturn. It’s near the poles that the magnetic field guides the particles into the atmosphere.
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CUT 5 (:22) – Ingersoll : It’s always a surprise to see the amount of activities in the auroras. It’s sort of like something out there is stirring up the aurora like the wind stirs the waves on the ocean.
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