NASA Scientists Make New Discoveries About Ionosphere, Earth's Interface To Space

Posted: Dec 15 2016, 7:31am CST | by , in Latest Science News


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NASA Scientists Make New Discoveries About Ionosphere, Earth's Interface to Space
The ionosphere is a layer of charged particles in Earth's atmosphere that extends from about 50 to 360 miles above the surface of Earth. Processes in the ionosphere also create bright swaths of color in the sky, known as airglow. Credit: NASA
  • Earth's Interface to Space: New Revolutions about Ionosphere

New research revealed energy and heats manifestation into ionosphere which is earth’s region. The region reacts to changes occurring in space and below the earth.

Researchers found that, the upper atmosphere of earth contains particles created by sun’s ultraviolet rays. These particles turn to positive and negative ions. That part of earth is called ionosphere, an environment that rules the universe. Ionosphere is based on electric and magnetic spheres. Ionospheres react to space and also the earth below. The reaction appears in different forms including aurora and it often affects the satellite.

Some effects are mysterious so difficult to understand. A meeting was arranged in San Francisco, by American Geophysical Union on Dec. 14, 2016. In this meeting, the scientists presented new research report on ionosphere. The scientists’ team was from included NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., the University of Colorado Boulder, and the University of California, Berkeley,

A scientist discovered that ionosphere and thermosphere interact; creating heat that expands upper atmosphere that decays the orbit. A second scientist explained the energy that is present outside the ionosphere and gets discharged. Another scientist said that two NASA crafts will start a mission that will observe the region for ionosphere reaction to terrestrial and space weather.

Ionosphere changes react with sun rays, and create magnetic and electric fields. The particles explode with millions of speed per hour. The magnetic fields or clouds are named as CME. CMEs and earth’s magnetic fields interact with each other, realigning the few parts. The realignment process transfers energy into earth creating particles. These particles create awesome events, named aurora also known as northern lights.

However, this energy transfer can heat the atmosphere making a hot air balloon expanding the orbit. According to Delores Knipp, a space scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder, the balloon shows there is a huge amount of particles in upper atmosphere. The process makes it difficult to track the satellite. The phenomenon known as ‘satellite drag’ is not very common and not easy to understand.

The only thing that scientists understood was that, geomagnetic storms create energy in earth’s system that swells thermosphere, and drag the satellite down to lower orbits. But, Knipp a well-known researcher said that it does not always happen like this.

The storms sometime create nitric oxide in the upper part of earth. Nitric oxide causes energy loss in the space over high altitudes. Excessive amount of nitric oxide can cause overcooling, that further causes the atmosphere to release energy from magnetic fields. This energy release process is very fast, and loss of energy destroys the atmosphere.

According to Knipp, intense solar storms create net cooling in the upper atmosphere and also cause shrinkage instead of expansion and heating. So, previous studies are different from present studies. Scientists are trying to understand the whole phenomenon, and are doing different researches to find the right result.

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