Monday, September 26, 2022

Space lightning mystery: ‘Giant’ jet burst traveled 80 km across the universe

In a recent study, scientists examined massive electrical discharges 50 miles (80 km) into space during the May 2018 hurricane of Oklahoma. By conducting a detailed 3D study of the so-called “giant jets”, they were able to provide. New information about the elusive atmospheric phenomenon. The 2018 event was the most powerful giant jet ever studied, carrying 100 times as much electrical charge as a typical thunderstorm lightning bolt.

The event resulted in an estimated 300 Coulombs of electric charge being thrown into the ionosphere, which is the lower edge of space.

Meanwhile, a lightning bolt usually has less than five Coulombs between the cloud and the ground, or within the clouds.

However, the electrical discharge from the jet was relatively cold as streamers of plasma were recorded at around 400 °F (204 °C).

Meanwhile, the giant jet also contained extremely hot structures known as leaders, scorching 8,000 degrees Fahrenheit, or 4426.667 degrees Celsius.

Levi Boggs, a research scientist at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), said, “We were able to map this massive jet in three dimensions with really high quality data.

“We were able to see very high frequency (VHF) sources above the cloud tops with this level of detail not previously observed.

“Using satellite and radar data, we were able to know where the hottest leader part of the discharge was located above the cloud.”

Steve Kummer, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Duke, used electromagnetic waves emanating from lightning to study the powerful phenomenon.

He operates a research site where sensors resembling conventional antennas are placed in an empty area, waiting to locally pick up signals from oncoming storms.

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Prof Qamar said, “The VHF and optical signals definitively confirmed what the researchers had suspected but not yet proven: lightning from VHF radios is emitted by tiny structures called streamers that transmit the development of electricity. at the tip, while the strongest electric current flows significantly behind this tip in an electrically conductive channel called a leader”.

Scientists have studied and observed giant jets over the past two decades, but because there is no specific observation system to look for them, detection is rare.

Researchers think the reason these jets shoot upwards is because some can move downward or block the flow of charge toward other clouds.

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