But, the researchers also found patches roughly 300-600 miles wide just to the south of these areas where the electrons had been drained.
During powerful solar storms, high-energy particles are sent streaming into space, causing the areas above the poles to gain excessive electrical charge when they hit Earth’s upper atmosphere.
After about two weeks, the coil suddenly expands and pinches off into space.
The breakthrough is just the latest in recent efforts to uncover the mechanisms behind the sun’s activity, helping to improve scientists’ understanding of space weather – and the effect it has on Earth.
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Eventually, this 'bubble' breaks off without warning Unlike the energy and x-rays produced in a solar flare – which can reach Earth at the speed of light in eight minutes – coronal mass ejections are giant, expanding clouds of solar material that take one to three days to reach Earth.
An eruption from September 2014 is shown But now, a recent study found that these storms can also have the opposite effect, draining certain regions until they are nearly depleted of electrically charged particles.
This bizarre phenomenon gives rise to patches where electrons are ‘almost vacuumed out,’ and researchers say the new understanding could lead to improved radio communication and navigation systems in the Arctic.
In the study, researchers from Denmark, the US, and Canada analyzed a solar storm that hit Earth on February 19, 2014.
This storm affected the ionosphere in all of Earth’s northern latitudes, and was documented by satellites observatories around the world.