An International scientists team have discovered a “space hurricane” for the first time in the universe. This hurricane swirled for 8 hours over the North Pole in the upper atmosphere of Earth.

Space hurricanes are usually occurred in the lower atmosphere of the Planet Earth. It was never observed in the upper atmosphere. Earlier, it was detected in August 2014 during a retrospective analysis which was led by the researchers at Shandong University in Jinan, China. Its findings were published in February 2021 in Nature Communications.

Discovery

Scientists team from United States of America, Norway, China and UK observed and produced the image of space hurricane using the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program satellites and a 3D magnetosphere modelling. The hurricane that was detected over North Pole comprises of plasma with multiple spiral arms. The hurricane was spinning in an anticlockwise direction. It has the diameter of 1,000 km while in altitude it reached from 110 to 860 km. It has the speed of up to 2,100 metres per second.

Space hurricane

The swirling mass of plasma that rains electrons into the ionosphere instead of water is known as “Space Hurricane”. The hurricane results into the stunning effect that is a huge, cyclone-shaped glowing green aurora can +ve observed below it. The astronomers have spotted hurricanes in space on Mars (Red Planet), Saturn and Jupiter.

Significance of study

The study conducted by scientists of space hurricane will help to understand the important space weather effects like disturbances in high frequency radio communication, satellite drag, satellite navigation, errors in over-the-horizon radar location and communication systems.