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A probable explanation for the appearance of green "ghosts" high in the Earth's atmosphere has been found

Alina MilsentNews
Green ghosts. Illustrative image

A green "ghost" once appeared over the Mediterranean Sea behind a storm cloud. Witnesses claimed that the strange phenomenon looked like a jellyfish. After many attempts to determine the origin of the "atmospheric ghosts," scientists finally managed to find a possible explanation.

The green color of the phenomena was previously explained by the influence of atmospheric pressure. The details were reported by Inverse.

When lightning strikes, it sometimes causes the emission of strong optical radiation at an altitude of 50 to 90 km above a storm cloud. These phenomena, lasting milliseconds, are called transient light events (TLEs).

These conditional "ghosts", scientists say, can look like jellyfish. They are known as sprites. Other forms of TLEs resemble halos. Sprites are red due to the presence of nitrogen in the Earth's atmosphere. They turn green due to the influence of atmospheric pressure. They also begin to darken to blue at lower altitudes.

By the way, they were first called "green ghosts" by Hank Schyma from Oklahoma, who noticed a strange emerald-colored spot in the sky. The idea behind the name was that since oxygen is associated with the green tones of the aurora, the gas creates "ghosts".

A probable explanation for the appearance of green ''ghosts'' high in the Earth's atmosphere has been found

A team of researchers led by María Passas Varo used a special instrument called the GRASSP (GRAnada Sprite Spectrograph and Polarimeter) to clearly see the "ghost".

Passas Varo, a telecommunications engineer, spectroscopist, and atmospheric electricity researcher working at the Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia in Spain, has been tirelessly searching for a new "ghost".

"We analyzed more than 2,000 spectra with the naked eye, one after another. We found only one good spectrum of the 'ghost'," the scientist said.

A probable explanation for the appearance of green ''ghosts'' high in the Earth's atmosphere has been found

On September 21, 2019, she managed to find a worthy "ghost" that was emitting from a storm cloud in the Mediterranean. It was the best "candidate" for spectrographic analysis. The team peered into the light from the ghost to learn about its composition and found a surprise. Oxygen, as they expected, was in the radiation, but the scientists also found evidence of iron.

Iron is present in Earth's upper atmosphere and comes from interplanetary dust particles that enter our atmosphere. But Passas Varo says it is usually found at much higher altitudes.

The reason for the ghost's appearance could be a combination of different phenomena, and iron may provide a particular clue.

One possible explanation for the appearance of "ghosts" is that the sonic boom we know as thunder somehow pulls iron down from its normal height. Gravitational waves on Earth, which are vertical, can also play a role in creating "ghosts".

Earlier, OBOZ.UA reported that a giant star flow was discovered in space. It is ten times larger than the Milky Way.

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