Dark Auroral Oval on Saturn Discovered in Hubble Space Telescope Ultraviolet Images

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Science  18 Aug 1995:
Vol. 269, Issue 5226, pp. 951-953
DOI: 10.1126/science.269.5226.951


Hubble Space Telescope ultraviolet images of Saturn obtained with the Faint Object Camera near 220 nanometers reveal a dark oval encircling the north magnetic pole of the planet. The opacity has an equivalent width of ∼11° in latitude and is centered around ∼79° N. The oval shape of the dark structure and its coincidence with the aurora detected by the Voyager Ultraviolet Spectrometer suggest that the aerosol formation is related to the auroral activity.