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Scientists for the first time in history recorded a 'cosmic hurricane': how it can affect the Earth

For the first time in history, scientists have recorded a "space hurricane". It revolved over the North Pole. According to the study, a swirling mass of plasma about 600 miles (965 km) wide was several hundred miles above the North Pole and was pouring out streams of electrons. More details about the unusual phenomenon told the publication USA Today.

Photo: Shutterstock

Until now, there was no certainty that "space hurricanes" existed at all, "so it's incredible to prove it with such a startling observation," study co-author Mike Lockwood, a scientist at the University of Reading in the UK, said in a statement.

Observations made from satellites in August 2014 were only discovered in a retrospective analysis by scientists at Shandong University in China.

The phenomenon was incredible, but, unfortunately, no one saw this particular "space hurricane". It should be visible to the naked eye, Lockwood said, "but since it was over the pole, no one noticed it."

Scientists say more research is needed, especially as geomagnetic activity could disrupt GPS satellites.

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The "space hurricane" seen by the research team in the Earth's ionosphere rotated counterclockwise (like hurricanes in the Northern Hemisphere), had several spiral arms, and lasted for almost eight hours before gradually faded away.

In many ways, this phenomenon resembles the familiar hurricanes in the lower layers of the Earth's atmosphere.

Tropical storms and hurricanes occur in the Earth's lower atmosphere over warm bodies of water such as oceans and bays. When warm, humid air rises upward, it creates a low pressure area near the surface that draws in ambient air causing extremely strong winds and creating clouds that result in heavy rain.

“Hurricanes are associated with a tremendous amount of energy, and“ cosmic hurricanes must be caused by an unusually large and rapid transfer of energy from the solar wind and charged particles into the upper atmosphere of the Earth, ”explained Lockwood.

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The University of Reading said in a statement that hurricanes like those we see here on Earth have also appeared in the lower atmosphere of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, while huge solar tornadoes have been observed in the Sun's atmosphere. However, the existence of "cosmic hurricanes" in the upper atmosphere of the planets has not been previously detected.

"Plasma and magnetic fields in the atmospheres of planets exist throughout the universe, so the results indicate that 'cosmic hurricanes' should be widespread," Lockwood said.

In addition, according to the study, the fact that the "cosmic hurricane" occurred during a period of low geomagnetic activity suggests that they may be more common in our solar system and beyond.

“This highlights the importance of improving space weather monitoring, which can disrupt GPS systems,” the University of Reading said in a statement.

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