May 16, 2017
In the course of just one year, a spacecraft observing Earth spotted hundreds of mysterious ‘flashes’ reflecting off the surface of our planet.
The bizarre phenomenon can be traced all the way back to the 1990s, when astronomer Carl Sagan made note of similar strange ‘glints’ in images from the Galileo spacecraft.
While it was first thought that these strange flashes of light only appeared over oceans, possibly simplifying their origin, scientists have now discovered that they can be seen over land as well.
In a new investigation, researchers found that these bursts likely have a surprisingly small source – tiny, horizontal ice crystals floating high in the sky.
NASA’s Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) aboard the NOAA’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) spotted 866 bursts of light over land between the observatory’s launch in 2015 and August 2016.
This article was posted: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 9:26 am