Scientists explain how a mysterious green glow appears in the sky

Physicists have figured out how a high-altitude green glow appears in the sky.

Recently, amateur astronomers and photographers began to notice unknown forms of aurora in the sky: they looked like flashes in the sky. The authors of the new work from the Higher School of Economics, the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and the Institute of Terrestrial Magnetism, Ionosphere and Radio Wave Propagation of the Russian Academy of Sciences, have found out how they appear.

Previously, scientists have found that this phenomenon may be associated with dust entering the ionosphere as a result of the destruction of micrometeorites and other objects. This is how a dusty plasma is obtained, and various processes inside it generate flashes of light.

Now the authors of the new work have found out how various interactions occur between different types of particles, specifically those that are at a given height and can penetrate into the dusty plasma clouds.

It turned out that the green glow appears not from the collision of charged particles and dust, but from the interaction between neutral atoms and particles of meteorites.

The results of our calculations are important for the explanation and description of natural phenomena in the ionosphere and atmosphere of the Earth, in particular, the propagation of electromagnetic waves at altitudes from 90 to 120 kilometers. It is planned to continue studies of the effect of modulation excitation of irregularities in the ionosphere that arise during the operation of such installations as HAARP or EISCAT.

Sergey Popel, professor and one of the authors of the work

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Alexandr Ivanov earned his Licentiate Engineer in Systems and Computer Engineering from the Free International University of Moldova. Since 2013, Alexandr has been working as a freelance web programmer.
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