A Russian satellite designed to monitor the atmosphere for high-energy cosmic rays has detected mysterious ‘explosions’ of light miles above Earth’s surface. The Russian scientists say what they’ve found may be something entirely new!
While numerous examples of unusual space weather phenomena have been spotted in the upper atmosphere before, the team operating the Lomonosov satellite say what they’ve found may be something entirely new.
Despite the occurrence of several powerful bursts, Russian scientists say there were no signs of storms in the area.
The satellite, named after scientist Mikhail Lomonosov, launched in 2016 and is integrated with the Kanopus-B spacecraft.
Its goal is to study high-energy cosmic rays, including gamma rays, magnetospheric particles, and transient light phenomena in the upper atmosphere.
And, the scientists now say it’s spotted something odd.
‘With the help of the telescope, we have obtained even more important results than we expected. It looks like we have encountered new physical phenomena. We do not yet know their physical nature. For example, during Lomonosov’s flight at an altitude of several dozen kilometers, we have registered several times a very powerful “explosion” of light. But everything was clear underneath it, no storms, no clouds.’ said Mikhail Panasyuk, Director of the Research Institute of Nuclear Physics at Moscow State University.
What are the different types of space lightning?
While numerous types of space and weather phenomena have been spotted in the upper atmosphere before, the team operating the Lomonosov satellite say what they’ve found may be something entirely new.
The team reported ‘explosions’ of light, though no clouds were seen in the skies below.
In the past, similar luminous events have been linked to ‘space lightning’ – but, these events are always associated with storm clouds.
Blue jets are enormous bursts of electrical discharge spiking upward from storm clouds in the upper atmosphere. They emerge from the electrically-charged cores of thunderstorms and rise up to 30 miles upwards in the shape of a cone.
Red sprites are electrical bursts of light that occur above highly active thunderstorms. They only last a few milliseconds and are relatively dim compared with other lightning. They show up red at higher altitudes and fade to blue at lower heights.
Another atmospheric anomaly? Another physical phenomenon? What were these mysterious explosions of light high in the atmosphere… The weather war is going on…