Aurora Disrupts Movement of Satellites Orbiting Earth

Aurora Disrupts Movement of Satellites Orbiting Earth

A recent study has found that the aurora disrupts the movement of satellites orbiting the Earth by creating "speed bumps" leading to a reduced speed.

"We knew these satellites were hitting 'speed bumps', or 'upswellings', which cause them to slow down and drop in altitude. But on this mission we were able to unlock some of the mystery around why this happens by discovering that the bumps are much more complicated and structured," Associate Professor of physics at UNH, Dr. Marc Lessard, said.

Scientists at the University of New Hampshire in the U.S. noted that a special type of high-altitude aurora might be setting off pockets of air deep into the outer atmosphere.

Lower-energy auroras, known as Poleward Moving Auroral Forms (PMAF), were found to be transferring more energy to the atmosphere and pushing hot air out towards space due to their high altitudes.

"You can think of the satellites travelling through air pockets or bubbles similar to those in a lava lamp as opposed to a smooth wave," Dr Lessard added.