Scientists Detected a Space Hurricane for the First Time. What’s That?

Scientists Detected a Space Hurricane for the First Time. What’s That? Advertisement By: Valerie Stimac  | Apr 5, 2021 High above the North Pole, solar winds whipped through the ionosphere in a gargantuan storm that rained electric precipitation. The entire thing happened over several hours, and satellites passing over the area were disrupted by the unexpected […]

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Scitists Detected a Space Hurricane for the First Time. What’s That?

By: Valerie Stimac
 | 

High above the North Pole, solar winds whipped through the ionosphere in a gargantuan storm that rained electric precipitation. The tire thing happed over several hours, and satellites passing over the area were disrupted by the unexpected changes in the geomagnetic field. Meanwhile, the world moved on below, unaware of the tumultuous evts occurring at the edge of space.

While this sounds like a gr setup for your next scice-fiction binge on Netflix, it’s a real phomon: a space hurricane. After hypothesizing that such high atmospheric meteorology might be possible, scitists now have proof that hurricanes occur in differt levels of Earth’s atmosphere.

As reported in Nature Communications in February 2021, scitists observed and documted the first phomon of its kind — which they dubbed a “space hurricane.” But what exactly is that? Space hurricanes have likely happed before in the history of our planet and will likely occur again, so it’s helpful to know what causes them and how similar they are to the lower-atmospheric hurricanes we know more about.

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According to the research published by a team of international scitists, the first documted space hurricane occurred on Aug. 20, 2014. High in the upper atmosphere, a spiral of plasma stretching more than 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) across, swirled above the magnetic North Pole for nearly eight hours. While it was invisible to human eyes, wher satellites were affected and tipped researchers off to the actity.

“Like many space wher phoma, charged particles from the sun interacted with Earth’s magnetic field to spark the space hurricane,” explains Accuweather meteorologist Brian Lada, who specializes in astronomy and space coverage.

“This phomon is likely being called a ‘hurricane’ due to the way that it spins, similar to a tropical cyclone,” explains Lada. “Since it was observed over the North Pole, I was a little surprised that they didn’t nickname it a ‘space vortex’ to match the viral wher term ‘polar vortex.'”

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G that they share the same name, space and Earth hurricanes must be similar, right? In fact, they do have some aspects in common — but they’re also quite differt. Aside from shape (both have an eye at the center and arm bands of storm activity), space and Earth hurricanes are similar in another important way — they both have precipitation.

“Hurricanes that we are familiar with have liquid precipitation (rain), while space hurricanes have electric precipitation that can cre stunning aurora. However, the aurora caused by this specific space hurricane may have gone unnoticed by people on the ground as it occurred during the summer in the Northern Hemisphere, the worst time of the year to look for aurora since the days far outlast the nights,” says Lada. Hopefully the next one will occur during the winter months so we can joy the show.

But there’s also one big differce betwe the two types of hurricanes. “The two occur in completely differt portions of Earth’s atmosphere,” Lada continues. “Normal hurricanes occur in the troposphere, the part of the Earth’s atmosphere that is closest to the ground that extds upward of around 5 to 9 miles [8 to 14 kilometers]. The space hurricane was observed in the ionosphere, which extds anywhere from 50 to 600 miles [80 to 966 kilometers] above Earth’s surface.”

The space hurricane was also huge compared to an Earth hurricane; at more than 600 miles wide, that’s roughly twice the average diameter of hurricanes in the troposphere.

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So, what caused this space hurricane? Scitists ar’t quite sure yet. But there are some theories.

The main one concerns the electromagnetic conditions in 2014: The sun was at the maximum of its most rect 11-year cycle, and August was a time of “low solar and otherwise low geomagnetic actity” according to the research in Nature Communications. This low actity in the ionosphere was likely similar to hurricane-conduce conditions that help cause hurricanes on Earth, says AccuWher sior meteorologist and astronomy blogger David Samuhel.

“It seems like it occurs wh conditions are quiet,” Samuhel says. “There was very little geomagnetic actity, [and] solar wind was low. This reminds me of hurricanes.

“[Hurricanes need] light winds aloft, so thunderstorms can form and rotate around a cter without the strong winds aloft pulling them away from the cter,” Samuhel s. “Once the cter gets established, the thunderstorms become stronger and stronger and thus spin faster around the cter until strong winds aloft pull them apart.”

So, it’s likely that the right combination of high atmospheric conditions came together to allow the space hurricane to form — and to dissipate wh those conditions changed.

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According to Lada, space hurricanes are mostly harmless — though it’s possible we could experice the effect of one on Earth.

“If strong ough, a space hurricane could pottially cause some disruptions on the ground. If there are ough charged particles raining down from space. In ition to cring aurora, it could disrupt GPS signals, radio waves and in extreme cases, the grid,” Lada explains. “However, if this evt only happs over the poles, th the number of outages would be limited based on the sparse population of the polar region.”

Having “discovered” this first one, scitists will undoubtedly be trying to determine where — and how oft — space hurricanes occur. But it’s likely we don’t need to have too much concern about them compared with their earthly counterparts.

While scitists can’t be sure wh the next space hurricane will occur, the next solar maximum will likely occur in July 2025. This may cre similar conditions for another space hurricane; however the sun’s cycles are much more flexible than our earthly time systems based on the sun — and scitists may not become aware of the next space hurricane until after it has already happed.

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Scitists Detected a Space Hurricane for the First Time. What’s That?


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Scientists Detected a Space hurricane for the First Time. What’s That? Advertisement By: Valerie Stimac  | Apr 5, 2021 High above the North Pole, solar winds whipped through the ionosphere in a gargantuan storm that rained electric precipitation. The entire thing happened over several hours, and satellites passing over the area were disrupted by the unexpected […]

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Happiness is for those who plan well and pursue. A profound among us have been proven those who have true dream to live for likely REALIZED IT. It is just simply the person working toward the DREAM days and night until accomplishment. There is a phrase of efficiency a head of you. Steps and obstacles at first seem tremendous. However, just with some times those difficult steps and challenges are so easy performance for you. There are also plenty of tools including VISUALIZATIONS and helps are around you.

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