The space of the atmosphere, which extends at an altitude of 80 to 645 kilometers, is one big mystery for us, and yet there are extremely important phenomena occurring for our entire planet and the organisms functioning on it.
NASA presented the most accurate images of the ionosphere in history and also explained some important information about it. New data was obtained thanks to the mission of the ICON and GOLD probes. American agencies have been intensively researching this part of the atmosphere for several decades. For the purposes of experiments, i.a. mysterious HAARP, which is located in Alaska.
Meanwhile, NASA scientists are more interested in its natural impact on our planet and all nature than manipulation of weather phenomena. Therefore, a thorough understanding of its essence can help us clarify many issues related to the prevailing climate, and even allow in advance to predict the occurrence of various phenomena, such as earthquakes.
The agency is also interested in its key impact on communication. If we plan to travel to the Moon and Mars, and even build the first colonies there, then we must learn about the ionosphere, which effectively limits efficient communication and exchange of important information. For now, the missions of both probes have just begun, so we will have to wait a bit for accurate data.
However, we already know that the famous region of the ionosphere, called foreshock, in which the phenomenon that looks like a dome of the aurora borealis is occurring, is where the energy particles of the Sun bounce off the Earth’s magnetic field.
We also know that when the solar wind hits Earth, atomic oxygen becomes more common at low latitudes and less often at high latitudes. At the same time, the advantage of molecular nitrogen is the opposite, decreasing at low latitudes and increasing at high latitudes.
The ionosphere also changes its form during the night and solar eclipses, when solar energy does not hit a specific region of the Earth. Here, the atmosphere cools down, the ionosphere becomes thinner, and the charged particles eventually clump together around the Earth’s magnetic equator.
Meanwhile, see extremely accurate images of the aurora borealis, raging in the upper layers of the Earth’s atmosphere. It was immortalized by a camera installed on board the ICON probe. It was launched into orbit in October this year by NASA.