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Updated March 2nd, 2021 at 20:35 IST

Scientists confirm existence of space hurricanes for the first time in Earth's atmosphere

Scientists have confirmed the existence of space hurricane swirling high above the North Pole. The space hurricanes rained electrons instead of raining water.

Apoorva Kaul
Scientist
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Scientists have confirmed the existence of space hurricane swirling high above the North Pole, reported the Daily Mail. Scientists for the first time have got a glimpse at a phenomenon that they believe is around all the planets. The research team led by Shandong University in China made the announcement after analysing a 621-mile wide swirling mass of plasma spotted hundreds of miles above the North Pole, reported the Daily Mail. 

Space hurricane exist above the North Pole

According to the Daily Mail, researchers observed a large cyclone-shaped auroral spot with a nearly zero-flow centre and strong circular horizontal plasma flow and shears, all of which are found in hurricanes in the lower atmosphere. The space hurricanes rained electrons instead of raining water. The space hurricane moved in an anticlockwise direction much like earthbound hurricanes in the northern hemisphere and lasted for nearly eight hours until it ultimately broke down.

Professor Mike Lockwood, Space Scientist at the University of Reading told the Daily Mail that hurricanes could be a universal phenomenon on planets and moons with magnetic fields and plasma. He said that until now it was uncertain that space plasma hurricanes existed but the observation is incredible. Previous observations have found space hurricanes on Mars, Saturn and Jupiter which are similar to hurricanes in lower atmosphere. The latest discovery is the first time a hurricane has been observed in Earth's upper atmosphere. 

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According to the study published in Nature, "A hurricane is associated with strong energy and mass transportation, so a hurricane in Earth's upper atmosphere must be violent and efficiently transfer solar wind and momentum into the Earth's ionosphere". Researchers explained space hurricanes open a rapid energy transfer channel from space to the ionosphere and thermosphere. It would help in revealing important details of space weather effects such as increased satellite drag, disturbances in high-frequency radio communications etc.

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Published March 2nd, 2021 at 20:35 IST

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