Solar Wind Putting the Squeeze on Earth's Atmosphere
News story originally written on December 10, 1998
NASA researchers used the Polar spacecraft to prove that solar storms
push part of our
atmosphere into space. The solar particles that hit the Earth's
ionosphere squeeze part of the atmosphere into space.
An instrument on Polar measured a large increase in gases leaving the
atmosphere in September, 1998. This happened at the same time a coronal mass ejection
increased the density of
the solar wind. The increased density pushed more gases into space.
About a few hunderd tons of gas were lost. That's about the same as the
mass of oxygen in the Louisiana Superdome.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, ranging from evolution
, classroom research
, and the need for science and math literacy
You might also be interested in:
After having to wait weeks for the right solar and atmospheric conditions, scientists were finally able to launch CAPER--the Cleft Acceleration Plasma Experimental Rocket. It was launched from the Andoya...more
It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more
The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center on October 29th at 2:19 p.m. EST. The weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit. This was the United States' 123rd...more
A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more
Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials want an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting to be...more
A coronal mass ejection (CME) happened on the Sun early last month. The material that was thrown out from this explosion passed the ACE spacecraft. The SWICS instrument on ACE has produced a new and very...more
J.S. Maini of the Canadian Forest Service called forests the "heart and lungs of the world." This is because forests filter air and water pollution, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, and maintain...more