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Thermosphere and GOLD

23 October 2021

At https://phys.org/news/2021-10-earth-highest-atmospheric-layers-space.html … the thermosphere is the highest and the hottest atmospheric layer above the earth's surface. The sun heats up this layer according to an article published in Geophysical Research Letters [July 2021] using data from NASAs Global Observations of the Limb and Disk [otherwise the GOLD  mission]. Satellit data that looks down from the top of the atmosphere, in a geosynchronous orbit – hovering over the western hemisphere as earth turns. It seems the temperatures are catalogued every 30 minutes. GOLD actually scans the thermosphere from a geostationary position, remaining over one particular spot on earth as it orbits and the planet rotates – from a perch 22,00 miles high. The thermosphere itself is between 53 and 373 miles high. Therefore GOLD is considerably higher but has a clear view.

The thermosphere is where the aurorae take place. It is also the home base of the International Space Station. It has the highest temperature of the atmosphere as it absorbs the sun's high energy x-rays and extreme ultraviolet rays [and inhibits this kind of light from penetrating to anywhere near the surface]. However, the new findings point to heating not driven by actual sunlight, also occurs. It seems the solar wind also adds to the heat. Strong gusts of solar wind disturb the earth's magnetic field and induce geomagnetic activity. The researchers compared days with more geomagnetic activity to days with less. They found an increase of over 90 degrees C in thermospheric temperatures. Magnetic disturbances, driven by the solar wind, were heating up the earth's hottest atmospheric layer. Some amount of heating was expected at and close to the poles, where a weak point in our magnetic field allows some of the solar wind to pour into the upper atmosphere. GOLDs data showed temperatures increased across the whole globe. Even at the equator. It was not confined to the poles. Solar wind pouring in at the poles seems to alter circulation patterns in the atmosphere. It seems GOLD is posting a picture of the upper atmosphere that is more sensitive to magnetic conditions than previously thought as even minor geomagnetic activity is playing a role. We might recall the early 2000s and the high solar activity at the time – lots of CMEs. This is the period that set in motion the global warming alarmist mantra. Was it all down to overheating of the thermosphere?

At https://phys.org/news/2021-10-exploring-mysterious-extreme-universe.html … NASAs Chandra X-ray Telescope has detected a bright transient burst of energy that lasted a few thousands of a second. The amount of energy released was the equivalent of what our sun releases over a billion years, we are told. What is or was going on? Out there in the universe. Again, they are referring to light and energy across the geomagnetic spectrum. Most of this comes from stars like our sun but there are often brief and bright flashes that outshine entire galaxies – and it is a mystery.

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