Cosmox Blogs
Jun 04, 2022

The Space Hurricane over The North Pole

On 20th August 2014, for the first time, astronomers had detected a 1,000 kilometer wide hurricane of plasma in Earth’s upper atmosphere, known as a “space hurricane”. According to observations, the space hurricane was funnel-shaped with an “eye” in the middle, surrounded by anticlockwise spinning spirals of ionized gas, i.e. plasma. Unlike any other hurricane, instead of raining water, the space hurricane had rained electrons into the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Usually, a rain of charged particles from solar wind finds its way into the upper atmosphere because of which glowing green aurorae are produced at higher latitudes. Considering this, it was particularly interesting to notice that solar conditions were comparatively quiet during the occurrence of the space hurricane.

The space event has been termed as a “hurricane” mainly because of its similarities with land hurricanes. These similarities include the observations which state that the space hurricane had a stable center point, like that of a hurricane’s eye, along with strong shears around the edges. These observations also state that its flowing patterns were like that of a lower-atmosphere storms.

Researchers say that these “weather systems” could commonly occur on any planet with a magnetic shield and plasma in its atmosphere. Apparently, similar to any other space event, the space hurricane is caused by streams of plasma that are unleashed from the sun via solar wind, and are capable of fuelling magnetic storms and triggering beautiful displays of the northern and southern lights when these clouds of charged particles hurl through space.

Space Hurricane.jpeg

Space scientist at the University of Reading in UK, study co-author Mike Lockwood, said, “Tropical storms are associated with huge 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 Earth’s upper atmosphere.” “Plasma and magnetic fields in the atmosphere of planets exist throughout the universe” said Lockwood, “so the findings suggest space hurricanes should be a widespread phenomenon.

Cosmox Blogs

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