Release Images

Release No.: 2011-20
For Release: Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 9:00am

Exoplanet Aurora: An Out-of-this-World Sight

"hot Jupiter" and its two hypothetical moons with a sunlike star

This artist's conception shows a "hot Jupiter" and its two hypothetical moons with a sunlike star in the background. The planet is cloaked in brilliant aurorae triggered by the impact of a coronal mass ejection. Theoretical calculations suggest that those aurorae could be 100-1000 times brighter than Earth's.

David A. Aguilar (CfA)

In this animation, stunning aurorae ripple around a "hot Jupiter." When a stellar eruption known as a coronal mass ejection hit the planet, it triggered these aurorae, which are the planetary equivalent of Earth's Northern and Southern Lights. However, this exoplanet's aurorae shine up to a thousand times brighter than Earth's, and extend from the equator to the poles.

Animation created by Hyperspective Studios.