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Jupiter's unusual X-ray auroras

An infrared image of Jupiter's southern aurora from NASA's Juno spacecraft. Photo: NASA / JPL / Caltech / SwRI / ASI / INAF / JIRAM

Scientists report today they've detected X-ray auroras on Jupiter's southern pole that, unlike Earth's synchronized Northern and Southern Lights, behave independently from their northern counterparts. Exactly how the planet's magnetic field produce its powerful auroras is unknown.

The big picture: Aurora-producing magnetic fields protect life on Earth's surface so scientists want to be able to recognize their various features and processes as they search for places that could harbor life, study co-author William Dunn from University of College London told the Verge.