Storms in Space

  Sheikh Shariq
  karma level 15828

A Perfect Storm

In April 2001, a temperate cyclone spun counter-clockwise over China, pushing a wall of dust as it moved. Not only was the tan dust thick enough to completely hide much of the land surface below, but is also almost formed its own topography, with ridges of dust rising up below the clouds.

An eye-witness to the dust storm who visited Jilin Province in northeastern China reported that around 7 a.m. local time on April 7, 2001, the dust blocked enough sunlight to leave the skies as dark as midnight. Researchers watched with surprise as dust from an Asian storm crossed the Pacific, reaching as far east as the U.S.s Great Lakes.

South Pole Aurora Australis

Auroras, such as the aurora australis seen here, are the result of solar flares and coronal mass eruptions on the sun. Though beautiful, the auroras' accompanying magnetic energy impulses often cause disruptions in electronic and communications technology.

Understanding Auroras

In 2007, NASA launched THEMIS (Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms), a 2-year mission to improve the understanding of how severe space weather effects on Earth.

The mission consisted of five identical probes that orbit the earth and line up over the United States every four days. In this artist's rendering, THEMIS' main orbits are represented by red ovals. Blue lines represent the Earth's magnetic field. The white flash represents energy released during substorms.

Mars Swirls

Martian winds blowing through the planet's sand dunes make intricate patterns -- a phenomena captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Clouds of Neptune

Does Neptune have clouds? This Voyager 2 image provides obvious evidence of vertical relief in Neptune's bright cloud streaks. These clouds were observed at a latitude of 29 degrees north near Neptune's east terminator, the "line" on a planet where daylight meets darkness.

Jupiter Swirls

This close-up of swirling clouds around Jupiter's Great Red Spot was assembled from three black-and-white negatives taken by Voyager 1 on March 5, 1979. At 617 kilometers (384 miles) per hour, the winds around Jupiter's Red Spot are nearly two times as strong as the winds that accompany Category Five hurricanes on Earth.

 J upiter's Volcanic Moon, Lo

Jupiter's moon Lo (shown in a composite photograph with Jupiter in the background) is the most volcanically active object in our solar system. This image shows a major eruption in progress on Io's night side. Incandescent lava glows red beneath a high volcanic plume, whose uppermost portions are illuminated by sunlight. The plume appears blue due to scattering of light by small particles in the plume.

Dragon Storm on Saturn

The complex feature with "arms" and "secondary extensions" just above and to the right of the center in this image is called the Dragon Storm. It lies in a region of Saturn's southern hemisphere that scientists call "storm alley" because of the high level of storm activity observed there by the Cassini-Huygens mission.

Icy Frigid Triton

A color mosaic shows Neptune's moon Triton. By far the largest satellite of Neptune, Triton is so cold that most of its nitrogen is condensed as frost, making it the only satellite in the Solar System known to have a surface made mainly of nitrogen ice. The bluish-green band visible in this image extends all the way around Triton near the equator; it may consist of relatively fresh nitrogen frost deposits.



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