Welcome to Sott.net
Thu, 17 Jan 2019
The World for People who Think

Strange Skies


Russian astronomer captures multiple rare atmospheric phenomena on video in 1 night - Sprites, elves, airglow and meteors

Russian astronomer captures ALL 'rare' atmospheric phenomena in 1 night - Sprites, elves, airglow, meteors, aurora
Mysterious violet ring appears in the sky over Russia.

Elves are electromagnetic pulses generated by lightning strikes. Elves is an acronym for Emission of Light and Very Low Frequency Perturbations Due to Electromagnetic Pulse Sources. They look like doughnut-shaped flashes that spread laterally up to 186 miles. Atmospheric research indicates the brightness of elves is closely related to the peak current in a return lightning stroke (the movement of charges from the ground to the cloud), and that elves may be the most dominant type of TLEs in the atmosphere.

Elves are very rare and undetermined atmospheric phenomena.

Comment: It wasn't so long ago that atmospheric phenomena such as these were considered a rare occurrence and so to capture just one of these events would have been considered lucky. However, as is the case with the rapid shifts we're seeing on earth below - a serious uptick in powerful earthquakes, epic flooding, gaping fissures, sinkholes, and so on - the same dramatic shifts are being reflected in the skies above:

Fireball 5

Red sprites snapped during Perseid meteor shower

Red Sprites And Meteors Taken by martin popek on August 14, 2018 @ Nýdek, Czech republic
© Martin Popek
Red Sprites And Meteors August 14, 2018 @ Nýdek, Czech republic
Amateur astronomer of the Czech republic is a "sprite hunter." Every night his automated cameras in Nýdek scan the skies for exotic forms of upward directed lightning. On Aug. 14th, during the peak of the Perseid meteor shower, a sprite storm broke out:

"The sky above my hometown Nýdek was criss-crossed by sprites and meteors," says Popek. "I created this composite to summarize the action."

Comment: In recent years it has been shown that there is actually a direct relationship between fireball activity, meteor dust in the atmosphere and our increasingly strange skies:

Cloud Lightning

'Floating ball of fire' seen outside Essex, UK care home during thunderstorm

Ball lightning in Maastricht, Netherlands
© Joe Thomissen
A smaller 'ball of fire' than this one - shot in Maastricht in the Netherlands - was seen in Great Wakering.
The cause of this rare meteorological phenomenon has remained unexplained for centuries

A 'floating ball of fire' has been spotted during a thunderstorm outside an Essex care home.

The strange meteorological phenomenon, known as ball lightning, was reported by residents in a Great Wakering care home during last Friday's thunderstorms (August 10).

Ball lightning is usually associated with thunderstorms but lasts considerably longer than a normal lightning bolt.

Tom Defty, forecaster at the Essex Weather Centre, explained how this was only the third report of ball lightning he has come across during 20 years on the job.

"Residents at this care home reported that an orb of fire was floating in the gardens of the home," he said.

Cloud Grey

Mystery in the mesosphere: Noctilucent clouds TRIPLE compared to last August

NLCs on August 14, 2018 @ Hamnoy, Norway
© Paul Knightley
NLCs on August 14, 2018 @ Hamnoy, Norway.
This summer, something strange has been happening in the mesosphere. The mesosphere is a layer of the atmosphere so high that it almost touches space. In the rarefied air 83 km above Earth's surface, summertime wisps of water vapor wrap themselves around specks of meteor smoke. The resulting swarms of ice crystals form noctilucent clouds (NLCs), which can be seen glowing in the night sky at high latitudes.

And, no, that's not the strange thing.

Northern sky watchers have grown accustomed to seeing these clouds in recent years. They form in May, intensify in June, and ultimately fade in July and August. This year, however, something different happened. Instead of fading in late July, the clouds exploded with unusual luminosity. Kairo Kiitsak observed this outburst on July 26th from Simuna, Estonia:

"It was a mind-blowing display," says Kiitsak. "The clouds were visible for much of the night, rippling brightly for at least 3 hours."

Other observers saw similar displays in July and then, in August, the clouds persisted. During the first half of August 2018, reports of NLCs to Spaceweather.com have tripled compared to the same period in 2017. The clouds refuse to go away.

Researchers at the University of Colorado may have figured out why. "There has been an unexpected surge of water vapor in the mesosphere," says Lynn Harvey of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP). This plot, which Harvey prepared using data from NASA's satellite-based Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) instrument, shows that the days of late July and August 2018 have been the wettest in the mesosphere for the past 11 years:

Comment: Late-season surge in Noctilucent Clouds produces stunning displays
In 2017 a heat wave in the mesosphere melted those crystals, causing a brief "noctilucent blackout." Could something similar, but opposite, be happening now? Perhaps a cold spell in the mesosphere is extending the season.
In July an English astronomer reported photographing more noctilucent clouds in six weeks than in the last three years. See also: Are noctilucent clouds increasing because of the cooling climate, and the rise of fireball and volcanic activity?

layers of the atmosphere
With the rise in rare and unexplained phenomena in our skies, clearly something is changing in our atmosphere: Also check out SOTTs' monthly documentary: SOTT Earth Changes Summary - July 2018: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs


Auroras discovered around brown dwarfs

Auroras on Brown Dwarf
© Caltech/Chuck Carter
Magnetic fields are common in space yet their origin is poorly understood. In stars, they generate spots and flares; in planets, they can create amazing auroral displays. Now, a team of astronomers has detected surprisingly strong magnetic fields in multiple brown dwarfs, failed stars that are too big to be planets but too small to ignite hydrogen fusion in their cores. The detections carried an even bigger surprise: unexpected auroral activity on a "rogue planet" that wanders the cosmos alone.

Melodie Kao (Arizona State University) and colleagues used the National Science Foundation's Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array to detect high-frequency radio emissions from four nearby brown dwarfs, with masses between 12 and 30 times the mass of Jupiter. Their magnetic fields are hundreds to thousands of times stronger than those around the Sun and power brilliant, radio-emitting aurorae similar to the Northern Lights on Earth. The results appear in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series (free preprint).

Among the brown dwarfs under study is SIMP0136, an object with a mass just below 13 times the mass of Jupiter - just below the dividing line that separates planets from brown dwarfs. Floating in interstellar space 20 light-years away, this planet is isolated - a "rogue planet."

On Earth, brilliant aurorae appear around the North and South Poles, where charged particles from the Sun stream in along Earth's magnetic field and crash into the upper atmosphere. A similar mechanism works at Jupiter, where the particles come from Jupiter's moons rather than the Sun. But unlike Earth and Jupiter, SIMP0136 is on its own - it either formed by itself or was flung out of another solar system. Either way, it doesn't have a parent star, so its aurorae can't come from interactions with a stellar wind.

Perhaps the planet hosts a moon of its own - but it's too soon to come to that conclusion. More observations are needed to confirm the origin of the radio emissions.

Cloud Grey

'Doom Nimbus': Incredible shelf cloud filmed over Anna, Illinois

shelf cloud illinois
© YouTube / Live Storm Chasers
Ominous wave-like clouds have been spotted over an American town, prompting cheeky users to make doomsday predictions and references to Steven King's and George R. R. Martin's works.

In a video posted online, a giant tsunami-shaped cloud structure is seen "rolling" onto the small town of Anna in southern Illinois.

Comment: Some other recent stunning cloud formations include: With the rise in rare and unexplained phenomena in our skies, clearly something is changing in our atmosphere: Also check out SOTTs' monthly documentary: SOTT Earth Changes Summary - June 2018: Extreme Weather, Planetary Upheaval, Meteor Fireballs


Study on spectacular space storms shows geomagnetic threat occurs before auroras

2015 St. Patrick's Day aurora
© NASA/Sebastian Saarloos
The 2015 St. Patrick's Day aurora seen in Donnelly Creek, Alaska.
On St. Patrick's Day in 2015, people living as far south as Tennessee spotted brilliant green and red auroras glowing in the night skies. The northern lights-which are typically visible only at high latitudes-were caused by a space storm so intense it disrupted electrical fields on Earth's surface. Now, a new study helps to explain how space storms produce powerful, ground-level electric currents that disrupt power grids, gas and oil pipelines, and communication systems.

Scientists have long known that these currents, called geomagnetically induced currents (GICs), result from interactions between the fluctuating solar wind and Earth's magnetosphere, a region around the upper atmosphere dominated by the magnetic field that buffers our planet from space radiation. The ionosphere, a pulsating layer of charged particles that produces auroras, also plays an important role. Precisely how the storms produce the on-the-ground electric currents has been difficult to pinpoint, however.

Comment: With the sun reaching its lowest activity in years and consequently our planets protective magnetosphere weakening, one can expect our vulnerability to electromagnetic storms will be heightened. The strange sky phenomena being documented with increasing regularity demonstrates how dramatically our atmosphere is changing:

Cloud Grey

Saharan dust causes orange haze above Southwest Florida

saharan dust florida August 2018
Do you notice anything unusual about our sky today? If you look closely, you'll see a slight orange haze above Southwest Florida over the next few days.

This haze was very evident around sunrise Wednesday morning looking east. The image below was taken around 7 a.m. from downtown Fort Myers.

The source of this orange haze is a layer of dry dusty air originating from the Sahara Desert that's traveled over 6 thousand miles from Africa to South Florida!

Comment: As if our planet needed more punch adding to the strength of its storms:


Firefighters battle rare firenado at UK plastics factory

firenado leicestershire

A firenado is generated in a similar way to a tornado, but full of fire
Firefighters in Derbyshire have captured on video a rare fire tornado, or firenado, towering 50ft above them while they tackled an industrial blaze near the town of Swadlincote.

The film shows a dazzling column of red-hot fire reaching high into the sky as black smoke billows up from a pool of flames at a plastic pallet factory, where the blaze broke out at about 1.20am on Tuesday morning.

As the camera tilts back to show the full height of the phenomenon, the whirling string of light appears to pulsate and bend as it is whipped by winds.

Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, which helped the Derbyshire and Staffordshire services tackle the blaze, shared the video on Facebook, saying: "Whilst we were firefighting at Occupation Lane we witnessed a firenado or a fire whirl.

"It's created as cool air enters the top of the hot air causing a swirl similar to how a tornado is formed."

Comment: The articles states that firenadoes are due to a temperature differential, but is that really the case? Or are we seeing a rise in a variety of phenomena around the world because of the electrical nature of this activity and the changing nature of our planet? Because, as noted in: Rare tornado touches down in Carinthia, Austria
The accumulation of cometary dust in the Earth's atmosphere plays an important role in the increase of tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes and their associated rainfalls, snowfalls and lightning. To understand this mechanism we must first take into account the electric nature of hurricanes, tornadoes and cyclones, which are actually manifestations of the same electric phenomenon at different scales or levels of power.
So when we take into account the rise in not just firenadoes, but snownadoes, deadly lightning and hail, and other strange sky phenomena, clearly other factors are at play than just temperature:

Firenadoes: Snownadoes: Strange skies, deadly lightning and hail: Also check out SOTT radio's: Behind the Headlines: Earth changes in an electric universe: Is climate change really man-made?


The annual Perseids: Astronomers prepare for Earth to 'plow' into fiery meteor shower

© Dado Ruvic
A meteor streaks across the sky above medieval tombstones in Radmilje, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 12 August, 2016.
A glowing shower of meteorites is set to light up the night skies this August as hundreds of burning space rocks wipe out in Earth's atmosphere, much to the delight of stargazers across the globe.

The Perseids is a prolific shower of fiery space particles that has streaked over our planet annually for generations as Earth encounters debris falling off the Swift-Tuttle comet, which was first discovered back in 1862.

The gleaming debris is generally first seen in mid-July in the northern hemisphere but enters a particularly sweet period of viewing for amateur stargazers between August 11-13, 2018. According to NASA, the peak period happens around a moonless night when the sky is darker than normal.

"Unlike most meteor showers, which have a short peak of high meteor rates, the Perseids have a very broad peak, as Earth takes more than three weeks to plow through the wide trail of cometary dust," said Jane Houston Jones, of the US space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.