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Space & Astronomy

Bursts of light detected in Earth's atmosphere

By T.K. Randall
February 12, 2019 · Comment icon 4 comments

What could be responsible for the mystery flashes ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 NikoLang
A Russian satellite has picked up mysterious 'explosions of light' in our planet's upper atmosphere.
The unusual phenomenon was picked up by the Lomonosov satellite (named after Russian scientist Mikhailo Lomonosov) which monitors the atmosphere for high-energy cosmic rays.

What makes these bursts of light particular unusual is the fact that, unlike most luminous flashes which occur in the midst of weather events, these seem to be occurring where the skies are totally clear.

"With the help of the telescope, we have obtained even more important results than we expected," said Mikhail Panasyuk, director of Moscow State University's Research Institute of Nuclear Physics.
"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."

Scientists are now working to determine exactly what these peculiar light bursts might be.

Source: Russia Today | Comments (4)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by jules99 5 years ago
Sounds similar to this: https://www.iflscience.com/space/nasa-spots-mysterious-flashes-of-light-high-in-the-atmosphere/
Comment icon #2 Posted by mesuma 5 years ago
It could be space junk rotating and catching the sun. Might just be small enough that they didn't notice it. I'm sure the solar panels on a Satelite must be pretty reflective. Though I'm sure it has been ruled out sciene did once wonder about radio signals that tured out to be the canteen microwave.
Comment icon #3 Posted by bison 5 years ago
The article makes it sound as if the satellite had an altitude of 'dozens of kilometers'. This seemed next to impossible, so I checked. The perigee of the orbit is 478 kilometers. I assume they meant to say that the phenomenon observed was at an estimated height of dozens of kilometers. The vagueness of the figure seems to support this interpretation.  I assume that Russian scientists are aware of the phenomenon of light glinting off ice crystals in the upper atmosphere, and have ruled this out. If the phenomenon is occurring at heights of dozens of kilometers,  light reflections from oth... [More]
Comment icon #4 Posted by TripGun 5 years ago
H.A.A.R.P.


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