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“Why are they getting more numerous? Why are they getting brighter? Why are they appearing at lower latitudes?”
Nobody knows for sure, but most of the answers seem to point to human-caused global atmospheric change.
Among the enduring mysteries: Following the explosion, the night skies shone brightly for several nights across Europe all the way to London, 3,000 miles away.
~ ~ ~
But which type of space rock was it?
New evidence from an unlikely source — water vapor in the exhaust plumes of space shuttles launched a century later — points to a comet.
The potential solution comes courtesy some strange clouds that scientists have only recently begun to understand.
Noctilucent clouds are brilliant, and visible only at night. Made of ice particles, they are Earth's highest clouds, forming in the mesosphere some 55 miles over the polar regions during the summer months when, up there, it is around minus 180 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 117 degrees Celsius).
Over the last 125 years, scientists have learned how the clouds form. At temperatures around minus 230 degrees Fahrenheit, dust blowing up from below or falling into the atmosphere from space provides a resting spot for water vapor to condense and freeze.
Defenses Down, Galactic Dust Storm Hits Solar System
Our solar system's natural defenses are down and a vigorous cosmic dust storm is blowing through, according to a new study. The forecast calls for a prolonged and increasing blizzard of small interstellar bits.
While no serious consequences are expected, the extra dust could slightly alter our night sky and might pose an increased risk to spacecraft, which are vulnerable to high-speed impacts from the tiny particles.
The whole scenario is also a vivid reminder that there is no such thing as empty space.
The number of incoming particles recently tripled and the pace is expected to grow over the next decade. Terrestrial weather and climate will not likely be affected, but more shooting stars could grace the night sky, said the study's leader, Markus Landgraf of the European Space Agency (ESA).
The fresh influx is related to a periodic weakening of the Sun's magnetic field.
The discovery was made using data from ESA's Ulysses spacecraft, which orbits the Sun on a noncircular path between Earth and Jupiter and his been monitoring the situation since 1992. The probe detects small particles and, based on direction, mass and speed, figures out which ones came from outside the solar system.
The number of interstellar dust grains increased from four per day, per meter in 1997 to 12 per day in 2000, Landgraf said. The results were announced earlier this month. He expects the rate to stay constant until 2005, and then increase by another factor of 3 prior to 2013.
Originally posted by axiomuser
The paranoid part of me says, 2009 + 3 years = 2012
Originally posted by DataWraith
but the flashes were actually pink, there was about 2 dozen flashes during the time I was watching 9-10pm GMT, one was right overhead but there was no thunderclap or rumble, apart form the that I was more suprised at the pink colouration of the lightning.
2009 has been a good year for noctilucent clouds--and that's no surprise. Noctilucent clouds almost always surge during years of solar minimum such as 2009. No one fully understands the link, but here is a popular idea: Low solar activity allows the upper atmosphere to cool, promoting the formation of tiny ice crystals that make up noctilucent clouds
“I suspect, as many of us feel, that it is global change, but I fear we don’t understand it,” Wickwar said. “It’s not as simple as a temperature change.”
Other theories abound to explain the observed changes in the clouds. Human-caused increases in atmospheric methane, which oxidizes into carbon dioxide and water vapor, could be providing more water for ice in the stratosphere. Increases in the amount of cosmic or terrestrial dust in the stratosphere could also increase the number of brightly shining clouds
the blob floating around the Alaskan seas has been identified as algae.
Originally posted by miss_sky
lotsa strange things happening lately, you have the land uplifting and the blob floating around the Alaskan waters and now these clouds, i wonder if its all connected somehow?
Originally posted by Hezzaj
reply to post by axiomuser
2012 is the year the Mayans predicted the world ends . . . on the 21st December or something like that . . .