19 June:A fascinating study suggests that a new type of natural coloured light displays may exist on Saturn, creating a faint ring around one of the planet’s poles.The natural coloured light displays, known as auroras, are usually observed at night, particularly in the polar zone.
Saturn has oval-like auroras that periodically brighten its poles when the solar wind crosses paths with the magnetic fields of the planets.
This type of aurora, named after the Roman goddess of dawn, is thought to be much like the Earth’s, which is caused by the solar wind, a stream of charged particles emanating from the Sun.
However, in the latest findings astronomers believe Saturn may also exhibit a dimmer, continuous type of aurora.
Its source may be similar to that on Jupiter, where the volcanic moon Io along with several other moons spews roughly a tonne of material per second into orbit around the gas giant, a website said.
"We’ve been able to find an aurora that seems to be very similar to Jupiter’s," Tom Stallard, a planetary astronomer at the University of Leicester in the UK, was quoted as saying by the website.
Using ground-based instrument to look at infrared light near Saturn’s South Pole, Stallard and colleagues found that the glow of charged particles extended beyond the planet’s main auroral oval, the report said.
The researchers say the debris from Saturn’s moon Enceladus may be feeding the light.