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This is an image of the type-B aurora of Earth, also called the SAR ARC.
L. Frank from Dynamics Explorer

Neptune Aurora

Aurora has been seen in the atmosphere of Neptune which is centered around the magnetic pole, as it should be for type-A aurora, nevertheless Neptune mostly has type-B aurora similar to the SAR ARC of Earth (shown here).

The rings of Neptune sweep away much of the particles in the area which is supposed to be the plasmasphere. Therefore there is only a small plasmasphere containing trapped particles, and a lot less plasma to be forced from the magnetosphere down into the atmosphere to create the aurora.

No radio signals from Neptune have been detected which relate to aurora or auroral processes, and scientists are still working to understand the currents which cause aurora.


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The Plasmaspheres of Neptune

Neptune has three small plasmaspheres which are greatly affected by Neptune's rings. Particles enter the plasmasphere from Neptune's atmosphere as well as the magnetotail. Particles might leave the plasmasphere...more

The forming Aurora

This picture shows the flowing of particles into and out of the auroral zone, as Field-Aligned currents (FAC's) take at short-cut through the atmosphere. Some of the particles entering the auroral zone...more

Neptune's "Scooter"

One of the many cloud patterns of Neptune is the "scooter" which was discovered by Voyager in 1989. In this picture, the Great Dark Spot is in the upper left of the image, and just below the Spot is a...more

The position of Neptune when gas changed to ice

The position of the planets in the solar nebula affected how big they became and what they were made of. The blue line in the picture shows where it became so cold that ice began to form. Planets that...more

How a planet-to-be sweeps up nearby material to be part of itself

As shown in this picture, while they were forming in the solar nebula, the core of the planets-to-be drew material to themselves from the cloud of gas and dust around them. The bigger planets-to-be were...more

The Structure of Neptune's Interior

There is no surface to the giant planets. There is only a gradual change from the atmosphere, as shown in this drawing. Therefore the giant planets do not have layers, as the earth-like planets do. Ice...more

The Atmosphere of Triton

Triton is the largest moon of Neptune. It isn't quite as big as Earth's Moon. The surface of Triton is very, very cold. It is colder than the surface of any other planet or moon in our Solar System. It...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA