Space News World

Auroras can be Hurricanes too!

Last year, scientists announced a spectacular phenomenon: space hurricanes.

With 600 miles in diameter and multiple arms that rotate counterclockwise, with a calm center much like a real hurricane, this one is made from the aurora borealis or the “Northern lights.” Its “rain” is electrons.

Auroras naturally occur near the poles during the winter months (respectively), when particles from the Sun excite the molecules in the upper atmosphere of planet Earth.

However, this new “space hurricane” occurs much higher up the atmosphere, entering at higher latitudes than typical auroras. Of course, much like other auroras, space hurricanes can also disrupt radio waves passing through the upper atmosphere and impact satellite communication and navigation systems. It can also heat up the atmosphere. However, any known special health or safety risks on spacecraft or astronauts do not currently exist.

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