Located one million miles apart from Earth, a powerful satellite of NOAA, through its ultra-powerful onboard camera, developed by NASA has captured hundreds of enigmatic flashes, echoing off the surface of the earth.
In the course of one year only, one of the Earth-observing satellites of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has tracked down hundreds of mysterious flashes, reflecting off the surface of Earth – a first-of-its-kind breakthrough which may pave paths for the interpretation of mystifying radio bursts.
The Deep Space Climate Observatory, or DSCOVR – an Earth and space climate satellite of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was launched in 2015, and in only one year, of course, the satellite managed to spot the enigmatic flashes of light, which are turning up hundreds of times on the surface of Earth over the span of juts one year. As declared by NASA, DISCOVR has detected some 866 bursts of light over the earth’s surface between 2015 and 2016 and NASA expect this reflection to be attributable to horizontal high-altitude ice crystals.
The “pale blue dot” has been glimmering just like a luminous diamond in the satellite images, and since long, scientists are confused about this look of earth. But the documentations, done by the DISCOVR satellite seem to have finally decoded the mystery – “why”. After going through the data, collected by the satellite, scientists at NASA now think that they also may have decoded the reason behind the speckles of dazzling ice crystals in the polished atmosphere of the sun.
DSCOVR satellite, through its powerful onboard camera – NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) instrument, has been clicking views of Earth and space weather in every hour since 2015. Currently, the satellite is positioned in-between the sun and the Earth and from this post, it is framing the views through the camera. Alexander Marshak, the deputy project scientist of DSCOVR at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, while gliding through these hourly pictures, came across these sparkling and mysterious lights over the oceans.
However, Marshak is not the first one to detect these flashes as the detection of the flashes dates back some 1993, when astronomer Carl Sagan first spotted the reflections. At the time, the Galileo spacecraft was monitoring solar system’s largest planet Jupiter, and simultaneously also slightly turned its camera lenses toward Earth. While reviewing those Earth images, clicked by Galileo Spacecraft, Carl Sagan and his colleagues detected the anomaly.
As said by Alexander Marshak, DISCOVR’s deputy scientist and the lead author of the new study, “The source of these enigmatic flashes is definitely not based on Earth. These, definitely are the reflections of high-altitude ice crystals, and most likely to be the solar reflection off of horizontally oriented particles.”
The complete details of the study are published in American Geophysical Union’s journal “Geophysical Research Letters.”