Enigma: The Mysterious “Upside Down Lightning” Reached the Edge of Space and Baffled Science

In May 2018, a group of scientists recorded a giant “inverted lightning” that appeared over a thunderstorm in Oklahoma. Already at this time they realized it It wasn’t just a phenomenon.. Four years after the event, American experts were unable to unveil the mystery.

A strong electrical discharge carries a charge 100 times greater than the average storm charge. It moved about 300 coulombs (a unit of electric charge) in the ionosphere, the lower edge of space, during A typical lightning carries less than five coulombs between cloud and earth.

The mysterious inverted beam that reached the edge of space and baffled scientists

Four years after the episode, a team of researchers created 3D lightning map of Oklahoma and published their results in the journal science progress. The study made it possible to know some unpublished details about the strange phenomenon And to better understand how and why this happens. “We were able to map this giant ‘plane’ in three dimensions with high quality data.”Levi Boggs, a scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology and lead author of the paper, celebrated.

“We can see high frequency sources (VHF) is above the top of a cloud that has not been seen before in this level of detail. Using satellite and radar data, We discovered the location of the discharge tip“, he added.

Estimates of the frequency of these individual lightning strikes range from 1,000 to 50,000 per year and are more frequent in the tropics.

When the Oklahoma “stream” appeared from the top of the cloud, researchers detected several high-frequency radio (VHF) sources at an altitude of 22-45 km, as well as light emissions near the top of the cloud. A cloud at an altitude of 15-20 km – which made it possible to calculate its displacement -.

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In this line, they revealed that VHF . sources Produced by small structures at the end of the beam called streamers – Plasma strips 200 degrees Celsius – and that the activity of draining coils It can reach all the way from the top of the cloud to the ionosphere.

They also decided that The strongest electric currents came from the “leaders”, the hottest divisions that can reach temperatures of more than 4,400 degrees Celsius.

Now why do giant planes launch their payloads into space? Those who worked on the research speculate that Something could block the flow of charge downward or into other clouds. Oklahoma event records show little lightning activity from the storm in the moments before the major lightning strike.

Despite what was discovered There are still many unanswered questions about giant “planes”which is part of the class Mysterious transient luminous events. It is estimated that this type of phenomenon occurs between 1,000 and 50,000 times per year and is more common in the tropics.

Signal degradation and aircraft performance issues could become more important than giant lightning strikesContainer

Besides its novelty, the study leader warned, “giant aircraft can have an impact on the operation of satellites in low Earth orbit.” So, with more spacecraft launched, Signal and performance degradation issues can become more significant. It could also affect technologies such as trans-horizon radars, which bounce radio waves off the ionosphere.

With information from Europe Press

Lovell Loxley

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