In an article published in the scientific journal Nature, astronomers describe the observation from the International Space Station (ISS) of a "blue jet" (blue jet), a type of ray that leaves from a storm cloud towards space. The phenomenon was spotted by the European Monitor for Atmospheric Space Interactions (ASIM) near the island of Naru in the Pacific Ocean.
According to the scientists, five intense blue flashes were seen, each about 10 milliseconds in length. Four of the flashes were accompanied by a small pulse of ultraviolet light, which appears as a rapidly expanding ring. The fifth flash sent a blue jet, a lightning bolt that can reach up to 50 km in the stratosphere and last less than a second.
They are formed by the interaction of electrons, radio waves and the atmosphere and are known to scientists as Elves (Elves), which stands for Emissions of Light and Very Low Frequency Perturbations due to Electromagnetic Pulse Sources. Very Low Frequency due to Electromagnetic Pulse Sources).
Astronomers say their observations using ASIM - known as the “hunter of space storms”- could help reveal how lightning appears in clouds and how they can influence the concentration of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere.
Astrid Orr, ESA's coordinator of physical sciences for human and robotic space flights, said: “This article is an impressive highlight of the many new phenomena that ASIM is observing above storms and shows that we still have a lot to discover and learn about our universe. ”.
"Congratulations to all the scientists and university teams that made this happen, as well as to the engineers who built the observatory and the ground support teams operating ASIM - a true international collaboration that has led to surprising discoveries."
Source: The Independent
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