New kind of aurora is not an aurora at all

WASHINGTON — Thin ribbons of purple and white light that sometimes appear in the night sky were dubbed a new type of aurora when brought to scientists’ attention in 2016. But new research suggests these mysterious streams of light are not an aurora at all but an entirely new celestial phenomenon. Amateur photographers had captured…

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‘Glowing tornado’ spotted over Northern Ireland

In recent nights, noctilucent clouds (NLCs) have rippled across Europe from Scandinavia to the south of France. “We have been observing NLCs every night here in N. Ireland,” reports Martin McKenna of Maghera in Co. Derry. “Their brightness and complexity have been getting more advanced since the solstice, with whirls and knots glowing electric blue…

Rocket launch over Japan looks just like California UFO reports

Remember when the pre-dawn SpaceX launch from Vandenberg just before Christmas created a flurry of UFO reports in Southern California? Now it’s Japan’s turn. On Jan. 18th, the Japanese space agency JAXA launched a small rocket from the Uchinoura Space Center. It made a big display. Japanese artist and photographer Kagaya captured dramatic images of the rocket’s exhaust…

Solved: The mystery of unexplained 'bright nights'

WASHINGTON, DC — Dating back to the first century, scientists, philosophers and reporters have noted the occasional occurrence of “bright nights,” when an unexplained glow in the night sky lets observers see distant mountains, read a newspaper or check their watch. A new study accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the…

New findings on sprite formation above thunderstorms

Florida Tech lightning research deepens understanding of sprite formation – link specific atmospheric conditions to exuberant, luminous displays above thunderstorms From the FLORIDA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY MELBOURNE, FLA. — A new study led by Florida Institute of Technology Professor Ningyu Liu has improved our understanding of a curious luminous phenomenon that happens 25 to 50 miles…

There's a model for everything, including Yellowstone's colorful thermal springs

Scientists from Montana and Germany develop simple new model that explains the brilliant deep hues of Yellowstone National Park’s most beautiful thermal springs WASHINGTON D.C. – Researchers at Montana State University and Brandenburg University of Applied Sciences in Germany have created a simple mathematical model based on optical measurements that explains the stunning colors of…