First space hurricane is confirmed over the North Pole

Scientists have confirmed the existence of space hurricanes following observations of electrons raining down in Earth’s upper atmosphere.

A team led by Shandong University in China made the announcement after analyzing a 621-mile wide swirling mass of plasma spotted hundreds of miles above the North Pole.

Observations show a large cyclone-shaped auroral spot with a nearly zero-flow center and strong circular horizontal plasma flow and shears, all of which are found in hurricanes in the lower atmosphere – but instead of raining water, it rained electrons.

The space hurricane moved in an anti-clockwise rotation and lasted about eight hours before breaking down.

Scientists warn that such storms could disrupt GPS systems, but also provide more understanding to space weather effects. 

Scientists have confirmed the existence of space hurricanes following observations of electrons raining down in Earth’s upper atmosphere

Professor Mike Lockwood, space scientist at the University of Reading, said the hurricanes could be a universal phenomenon on planets and moons with magnetic fields and plasma.

He said: ‘Until now, it was uncertain that space plasma hurricanes even existed, so to prove this with such a striking observation is incredible.

‘Tropical storms are associated with huge amounts of energy, and these space hurricanes must be created by unusually large and rapid transfer of solar wind energy and charged particles into the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

‘Plasma and magnetic fields in the atmosphere of planets exist throughout the universe, so the findings suggest space hurricanes should be a widespread phenomena.’

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