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Exoplanet Aurora: Star Spectacle Seen From A 'Hot Jupiter'

First Posted: 07/26/11 02:32 PM ET Updated: 09/25/11 06:12 AM ET

Aurorae are one of the most remarkable sights offered by our universe. But what would the star spectacle look like from a planet other than Earth?

Astrophysicists are working to predict weather conditions on other planets orbiting stars. Their computer model aims to examine "what would happen if you stuck Jupiter in a giant blowtorch," according to a Newsy reporter. In other words, how would an aurorae look on a large hot planet?

A new computer model created by a group of Harvard scientists attempts to simulate what would happen if a planet outside our solar system witnessed a stellar eruption. It's an incredible idea, and a sight that one i09 blogger believes could be experienced by astronauts traveling to another solar system in the future.

According to a press release:

Earth's aurorae are created when energetic particles from the Sun slam into our planet's magnetic field. The field guides solar particles toward the poles, where they smash into Earth's atmosphere, causing air molecules to glow like a neon sign. The same process can occur on planets orbiting distant stars, known as exoplanets.

This year, a popular video featured time-lapse footage of the aurora borealis as seen on a flight from San Francisco to Paris.

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Filed by Steven Hoffer  |