Detecting Aurora on Uranus

HST ultraviolet images of Uranus have provided the first detection of aurora on Uranus since the Voyager 2 flyby in 1986. Astronomy Department Professor Clarke participated in this collaborative program which used two cameras on the Hubble Space Telescope to obtain UV images of Uranus to search for auroral emissions. The detection of aurora on Uranus is significant for a number of reasons. One is that we do not know the rotational period and phase of Uranus. Another reason is the desire to understand the magnetospheric physics of a planet tilted by nearly 90 degrees to the plane of the ecliptic, with an internal magnetic field offset from the planet center and tilted by nearly 60 degrees from the rotational axis.