Blue ghost-like flashes of light dance in Jupiter's atmosphere.
The unusual phenomenon, illustrated in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, was captured for the first time on a planet other than Earth by the NASA probe, Juno (Jupiter near-polar orbiter), which has been studying Jupiter closely since 2016.
The experts point out that these are flashes of transient light, similar to colorful jellyfish, very bright and very short-lasting, like the blink of an eye.
The phenomenon was captured thanks to one of Juno's instruments for observing Jupiter in the ultraviolet, (Uvs), designed to study the polar auroras created by the turbulent atmosphere of the gas giant.
To trigger these flashes in the upper atmosphere, explains Rohini Giles, one of the leaders of Juno, “are discharges of lightning due to thunderstorms in the layers below. The blue color - he adds - is linked to hydrogen, a gas of which the Jovian atmosphere is rich ”. Even on Earth, these turbulent atmospheric phenomena can be observed, but the prevalence of nitrogen in the Earth's atmosphere makes them take on a reddish color.