Space plasma hurricanes discovered over the North Pole – where it rains electrons | Science & Tech News
Scientists say they have confirmed the existence of space hurricanes 600 miles wide over the North Pole.
Researchers led by Shandong University in China used satellite data to identify the space hurricane. They discovered that it was not a vortex pattern made of air, but made of plasma-ionized gas.
The mass rained electrons instead of water and lasted almost eight hours before collapsing.
Professor Mike Lockwood, a space scientist at the University of Reading, said the hurricanes could be a universal phenomenon on planets and moons with magnetic fields and plasma.
He said, “Until now, it has been uncertain that space plasma hurricanes existed at all. So it is incredible to prove it with such a striking observation.”
“Tropical storms are associated with enormous amounts of energy, and these space hurricanes must be created by unusually large and rapid transfer of solar wind energy and charged particles into the upper atmosphere.
“Plasma and magnetic fields in the atmosphere of planets exist throughout the universe, so the results suggest that space hurricanes should be a common phenomenon.”
The space hurricane, which occurred during a period of low geomagnetic activity, was found to share many features with hurricanes in the lower atmosphere – a calm center, spiral arms, and widespread circulation.
They are expected to lead to space weather effects such as increased satellite resistance, interference in radio frequency radio communications, and increased errors in radar location over the horizon, satellite navigation, and communications systems.
The results were published in Nature Communications.
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