Solar storms can drain Earth’s electrical charge - See video

Now, a new research on solar storms finds they also can do the exact opposite - cause regions that are nearly depleted of electrically charged particles.  

By Zee Media Bureau | Updated: Apr 12, 2017, 14:16 PM IST
Solar storms can drain Earth’s electrical charge - See video
Credits: NASA

New Delhi: It's known that powerful solar storms can regions of excessive electrical charge in the upper atmosphere above Earth's poles.

Now, a new research on solar storms finds they also can do the exact opposite - cause regions that are nearly depleted of electrically charged particles.

Check out the video here

The discovery was made by a team of researchers from Denmark, the United States and Canada while studying a solar storm that reached Earth on February 19, 2014.

 

The storm was observed to affect the ionosphere in all of Earth's northern latitudes. Its effects on Greenland were documented by a network of global navigation satellite system, or GNSS, stations as well as geomagnetic observatories and other resources.

Attila Komjathy of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, developed software to process the GNSS data and helped with the data processing.

Solar storms often include an eruption on the sun called a coronal mass ejection, or CME. This is a vast cloud of electrically charged particles hurled into space that disturbs the interplanetary magnetic field in our solar system.

"We don’t know exactly what causes the depletion," Komjathy said. "One possible explanation is that electrons are recombining with positively charged ions until there are no excess electrons. There could also be redistribution - electrons being displaced and pushed away from the region, not only horizontally but vertically."

The finding adds more insight into how solar storms affect Earth and could possibly lead to improved radio communication and navigation systems for the Arctic.

The results have been published in the journal Radio Science.