Sometimes called “space lightning,” Gigantic Jets and their cousins the sprites are true space weather phenomena.

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Sometimes called “space lightning,” Gigantic Jets and their cousins the sprites are true space weather phenomena. They inhabit the upper atmosphere alongside auroras, meteors and noctilucent clouds. Some researchers believe they are linked to cosmic rays: subatomic particles from deep space striking the top of Earth’s atmosphere produce secondary electrons that could, in turn, provide the spark for these upward bolts.

The link to cosmic rays is particularly interesting at this time. For the past two years, space weather balloons have observed a steady increase in deep space radiation penetrating our atmosphere. This increase is largely due to the decline in the solar cycle. Flagging solar wind pressure and weakening sunspot magnetic fields allow more cosmic rays into the inner solar system–a trend which is expected to continue for for years to come. These changes could add up to more Gigantic Jets in the future. Stay tuned!

More Info on 

http://spaceweather.com/

 

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