Research

Space flashes explained: What are these mysterious lights on Earth?

Space flashes explained: What are these mysterious lights on Earth?

Space weather is usually driven by the Sun - but a bunch of data about Cold War nuclear tests has given NASA boffins the chance to measure whether humans can affect what goes on in Earth's neighbourhood.

NASA researchers said a statement that the source of the lights is a reflection from high-altitude, horizontally oriented ice crystals.

"Sunlight hits a smooth part of an ocean or lake, and reflects directly back to the sensor, like taking a flash-picture in a mirror", Marshak said.

Almost a quarter-century later, DSCOVR found flashes of light over land as well. Tucked aboard that observatory is an instrument called EPIC, or the Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera.

Marshak's team then theorized that a different form of water might be responsible for the flashes-"flecks of high-flying ice crystals in the atmosphere glinting in the sun", as Live Science puts it.

Check out the footage below, which was shot by the EPIC camera onboard DSCOVR spacecraft.

The hundreds of images captured during the past year are the result of light reflecting off ice particles floating in the air nearly horizontally, researchers determined.

Car plows into Times Square crowd; 1 dead, about 20 hurt
Witnesses reported that he drove the wrong way and on a sidewalk for at least three blocks, mowing down pedestrians. When I came back to this point where I am right now, I saw the vehicle catch on fire and it finally burnt down.

Sagan suggested that the lights were reflections from Earth's oceans and could one day be a sign to look for when searching for life on other planets. In fact, DSCOVR captured more than 800 of these flashes between 2015 and 2016, and scientists have figured out what they are.

First, scientists can try and figure out how often these ice crystals form, and to see if they can be used in calculations of how much of the sun's energy are reflected back into space.

This confirmed that sunlight was definitely the source of the mysterious glints.

The new study from DSCOVR scientists with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, who published their findings in Geophysical Research Letters, proposes an answer.

At times, these interactions can create a barrier around Earth against natural high energy particle radiation in space.

Finally, the researchers showed that the light probably wasn't coming from Earth. Scientists are also figuring out if VLF can remove charged particles in the upper atmosphere during extreme space weather events.

But, again a closer look at Galileo's spacecraft images show that these bright flashes are present over the land also. "But the glint is pretty big, so it wasn't that", said Marshak. Two channels on the instrument are created to measure the height of clouds, and when the scientists went to the data they found high cirrus clouds, 5 to 8 kilometres (3 to 5 miles) where the glints were located. If similar tests were carried out today, scientists say it would cause $600bn (£460bn) to $2.6tn in damages to the United States alone and would stall much of the internet taking down all satellite communications, and knocking out most of the global electricity grid.


  • Saudi Arabia working to dazzle Trump in busy overseas visit

    Saudi Arabia working to dazzle Trump in busy overseas visit

    Saudi Arabia confirmed on Thursday that it will sign commercial and political deals with the United States during U.S. Trump leaves for Saudi Arabia on Friday afternoon and will make stops next week in Israel, Belgium and Italy.
    The 60th GRAMMY Awards Tap James Corden Once Again To Host

    The 60th GRAMMY Awards Tap James Corden Once Again To Host

    Wednesday's " Late Late Show " began airing at 12:35AM on the east coast (and will air at that time on the west coast). In 2013, Corden was awarded the Royal Television Society Award for Comedy Writer of the Year for his work on the show.

    Indivior PLC (INDV) Earns "Buy" Rating from Stifel Nicolaus

    Eight equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and one has given a buy rating to the company. Shares of BT Group plc closed the previous trading session at 19.96 up +0.31 1.58% with 808,808 shares trading hands.
  • Lawmakers fret over impact of special counsel on congressional Russian Federation  probes

    Lawmakers fret over impact of special counsel on congressional Russian Federation probes

    Thursday afternoon, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the man who appointed Mueller, briefed senators behind closed doors. The Kentucky Republican had said initially that investigations by the Senate intelligence panel and the FBI were sufficient.
    Jose Mourinho vetoes open-training plans 'due to fears of tactics leak'

    Jose Mourinho vetoes open-training plans 'due to fears of tactics leak'

    Many feel Manchester United's season hinges on Wednesday's final in Sweden and while they are favourites, Jose Mourinho's men are expected to feel the heat against a young Ajax side.
    House Dem threatens to introduce impeachment resolution

    House Dem threatens to introduce impeachment resolution

    Ruben Gallego of Arizona, have pointed to these events as proof that Trump is " marching toward impeachment ", others, like U.S. Speaker, we can not allow this to go unchecked. "We have to find out the truth of all of these different allegations".
  • NHS cyber attack: Hospitals no longer diverting patients

    NHS cyber attack: Hospitals no longer diverting patients

    SIX non-urgent procedures at Colchester General Hospital will be cancelled today as a result of the NHS-wide cyber attack. She said: "We were instructed by the CCG to turn all computers off on Friday afternoon".
    US launches first direct strike in Syria

    US launches first direct strike in Syria

    The US-backed Maghaweer al-Thawra rebel faction said the convoy was 27km (17 miles) away and contained four tanks. The airstrikes come on the same day that UN-mediated talks got underway with a Syrian government delegation.
    Tad Cummins indicted after going on run with 15-year-old

    Tad Cummins indicted after going on run with 15-year-old

    Shabazz said Cummins' family was "strongly in support of him" and that he "has been of great character". If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison.
  • Senate Intelligence Committee to The FBI: Give Us The Comey Memos

    Senate Intelligence Committee to The FBI: Give Us The Comey Memos

    Trump himself hasn't directly addressed the latest allegations that he pressured Comey to drop the Flynn investigation. Soon thereafter another Republican lawmaker was seen supporting the impeachment move.
    Things to Know About the 'WannaCry' Ransomware Attack

    Things to Know About the 'WannaCry' Ransomware Attack

    The ransomware is spreading through email, and is evolving rapidly to attack more computers, including Apple devices . The NSA allowed its data to be stolen from its servers by hackers to launch the biggest ransomware attack in history.
    Roger Ailes, Former Fox News CEO, Dies At 77

    Roger Ailes, Former Fox News CEO, Dies At 77

    Bush tweeted that while his "friend" Ailes "wasn't ideal ", he may not have been elected president without him. But he left Fox with a tarnished legacy, facing legal actions over allegations of sexual harassment .