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NASA spots eerie green light on Jupiter and captures image
Featured Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS

NASA spots eerie green light on Jupiter and captures image

The space agency shared the image after flying over Jupiter

Scientists have shared their thoughts after a NASA spacecraft snapped a picture of an eerie green light glowing on Jupiter.

It's pretty cool when pictures and videos can teach us about planets and stars from millions of miles away, but as soon as those pictures and videos reveal something that we might not expect to see, they can become a lot more unnerving.

Remember when we learned what a black hole sounds like? That creepy experience should have been enough to tell us that space is home to all sorts of mysterious things, but in case you were still in any doubt, NASA has a new picture for us.

The space agency released the snap last week, after it was captured by NASA's Juno mission as it completed its 31st close flyby of Jupiter on 30 December, 2020.

It reveals the huge, swirling patterns of Jupiter, which is a gas giant, but in the middle of the photo there's a random circle of green light, glowing brightly.

It sticks out like a sore thumb against the dark blue and brown colours of Jupiter, so it's clearly not a natural part of the planet itself.

The light is clearly visible above the surface.

It looks like someone's dropped a glowstick, or got a bit too carried away with St. Patrick's Day celebrations, but obviously, there aren't any beings up there to be responsible for this.

Or are there?

Well, scientists have now had their say - and no, it's not St Patrick's Day-loving aliens. Sorry.

Instead, the light is thought to have been caused by a bolt of lightening which struck near the planet's north pole.

On Earth, lightening originates from water clouds and bursts into the bright-white colored flashes we all recognise.

On Jupiter, however, lightning occurs in clouds containing an ammonia-water solution, and most often occurs near the poles.

Jupiter is home to a 'Giant Red Spot' storm system.

The planet, which is the largest in the solar system, is known for its massive storms. In fact, it has one storm system that's so huge it earned the title the 'Great Red Spot', which you might recognise from pictures of Jupiter's surface.

At approximately 16,350 km (10,159 miles) wide, the storm is large enough to engulf Earth itself - so I think it's safe to say that your average umbrella probably wouldn't cut it.

Between the eerie glow of its lightening and storms bigger than our entire home planet, Jupiter definitely isn't a place we want to mess with.

Topics: Space, NASA, Science