A Russian satellite which normally spends its time searching for high-energy cosmic rays has recently detected “explosions of light” in the Earth’s upper atmosphere that have left scientists baffled.
As the Daily Mail reports, while discovering strange weather phenomena in the upper atmosphere of the Earth is something which is certainly not surprising or odd in and of itself, the scientists who are currently responsible for operating the Lomonosov satellite believe that these strange bursts of light that the satellite has picked up may actually be something completely new and undocumented.
After witnessing the explosions of light in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, scientists noted that there didn’t appear to be any storms in the region where the explosions of light had emanated from, and it is due to this absence of storms that scientists believe they may have witnessed new phenomena.
According to Mikhail Panasyuk, Director of the Research Institute of Nuclear Physics at Moscow State University, these strange explosions of light in the Earth’s upper atmosphere didn’t just occur one time either, but several times.
“With the help of the telescope, we have obtained even more important results than we expected. 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.”
What HAS Russia spotted in Earth's upper atmosphere? Scientists say satellite detected unexplained 'explosions of light' in cloud-free skies https://t.co/yozHWBAJ2K
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) February 11, 2019
Over the years, bizarre electrical discharges have been detected by both a large number of satellites as well as those on the International Space Station, with blue jets and red sprites reportedly the most common of these discharges.
However, these kinds of lights are normally the result of storm clouds found within the vicinity, and with the distinct lack of storm clouds present when the Lomonosov satellite captured the explosions of light in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, scientists have been left thoroughly puzzled.
The Lomonosov Project was specifically set up with the goal of learning more about odd phenomena like the kind the satellite recently detected which is incredibly important as aberrant weather can also stretch down and affect the surface of the Earth.
As the website for the project has stated, “We must take into account that the Earth’s radiation belts – the charged particles trapped by the magnetic field, can disappear, precipitate from the magnetic trap into the Earth’s atmosphere, producing in it extensive regions of ionization.”
While it is still unclear how these strange explosions of light were created in the Earth’s atmosphere or what they may be, Russian scientists working with the Lomonosov satellite are working hard to figure out the answer.