A Cassini scientist explains the flickering 'northern lights' high above Saturn, shown for the first time in a visible-light movie.


Title - Earth. Saturn. (Actual relative sizes).
Ingersoll: especially things that we can compare with Earth.
Title - Earth. Saturn. Auroras at poles.

Ingersoll: In fact, the auroras on Saturn have a lot of similarities to the auroras on Earth.

Title - Earth's aurora from space
Ingersoll: Both on Earth and on Saturn you have charged particles from outer space crashing into the upper atmosphere and causing it to glow.

Title - Earth. Magnetic field lines.
Ingersoll: The magnetic field guides the particles into the high latitudes, so: the 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.

I'm a weatherman. I like weather at all altitudes, from hurricanes near the ground to the weather of the top of the atmosphere. The vacuum of space has weather, changing conditions. We're learning about space weather.

Title - NASA, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

View all Videos