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A new type of aurora has been spotted on Mars, and thieving streams of solar wind may be to blame, a new study shows.
Unlike auroras on Earth, which are caused by electrons and are generally seen near the poles, the auroras on Mars are triggered by an influx of protons and occur over much of the dayside of the Red Planet, where auroras are very hard to see.
Using the Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph on NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) orbiter, astronomers observed that, on occasion, the ultraviolet light coming from hydrogen gas in Mars' upper atmosphere would mysteriously brighten for a few hours. These brightening events happened at the same time that the orbiter's Solar Wind Ion Analyzer (SWIA) instrument measured an increase in solar-wind protons (charged particles released from the sun), according to the study.
Generally, Mars' "bow shock" — a magnetic obstacle surrounding the planet — would divert charged particles from the solar wind. However, the researchers found that, in this case, the charged particles "steal" electrons in order to sneak into the planet's upper atmosphere.
"As they approach Mars, the protons coming in with the solar wind transform into neutral atoms by stealing electrons from the outer edge of the huge cloud of hydrogen surrounding the planet," Justin Deighan, a researcher at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder and lead author of the new study, said in a statementfrom NASA Monday (July 23). "The bow shock can only divert charged particles, so these neutral atoms continue right on through."
Forecasters are calling for an excellent fall foliage season in parts of the Northeast this year, thanks to ideal weather conditions over the summer.
Storm Ali will unleash powerful winds and downpours across the United Kingdom on Wednesday.
This season's first bout of fall-like weather is on the horizon for the Midwest, where drier, cooler and sunnier weather is expected to move in by the end of the week.
AccuWeather's founder and president denounces “inaccurate information” about Hurricane Florence's economic impacts, while the company predicts the total economic toll from Florence to be $50-60 billion.
Meteorologists of the National Weather Service office in Puerto Rico worked around the clock to keep the island informed during September of 2017, while they were disconnected and unsure whether their own families were safely weathering the storm.
The start of Oktoberfest 2018 is only days away and big changes in the weather are expected for the opening weekend of festivities.
Knowing if you live in an evacuation zone and being aware of evacuation routes ahead of time is critical in the event that a mandatory evacuation order is issued for your area.
El grupo de meteorólogos del Servicio Nacional de Meteorología de San Juan trabajó sin parar durante la emergencia del huracán María y fue parte importante del proceso de mantener informada a la ciudadanía.