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Billion-Degree Cloud Around Earth 13

texchanchan writes "From a report on Yahoo: 'The Earth's outer atmosphere works as a heat shield to deflect and absorb some of the damaging energy [of solar wind], but in the process creates a billion-degree cloud of electrified gas that sets up loops of multimillion amp electric current.' That's pretty wild to be going on over our heads. Researched at NASA's IMAGE project. Here's the press release, with links to movies of the electrical excitement."
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Billion-Degree Cloud Around Earth

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  • by Perdo ( 151843 ) on Friday May 10, 2002 @04:32AM (#3495439) Homepage Journal
    Great, a new source of energy. How do we tap it? An electricly conductive line hanging from space? A heat pump that works on the temperature differential between the hot zone and orbital shaded vacume?

    Sounds like a threat to any potential space elevator too. Or perhaps a space elevator could be used to tap the energy.
  • So, does this mean if you were flying in an airplane or spacecraft at just the wrong time and place, you would be subjected to enormous temperatures?
  • Anyone recalled the story on the space elevator [] ?
    Maybe this can be the powersource for the elevator :)

  • This makes the dubious threat of powerlines in residential neighbourhoods pretty insignificant I guess :)

  • How (hot? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jcabrer ( 150853 )
    A billion degrees?!!! That's damn hot! How do we manage to send spacecraft to the other planets (or the moon for that matter) when there is such an obstacle surrounding us? Could the conspiracy theorists be right?
    • According to the article this "cloud" (outer ionosphere) is 300 to 1000 kilometers above earth - the region called "low earth orbit" by astronaticans (BTW with the exception of the apollo program all manned space activities took place there). The density of the atmosphere in this height is so low that this reagion is usually declared as space by the media.

      Because of the low density a cubic kilometer of "air" (or space) of that cloud doesn't contain much thermal energy - even if it's billions of K hot.
  • What is a degree? (Score:2, Informative)

    by fava ( 513118 )
    What we know as temperature is actually a measure of the average kenetic energy of all the molecules in our sample, in other words its a measure of average speed.

    What a billion degrees means is the molecules are moving very fast, however because there are so few of them the total effect is minimal.

  • Supposedly the Earths rotation is slowing down. I wonder, all this energy hitting the magnetic field waayyy out and then being directed right through our axis of rotation, could this be helping to keep the planets rotation going (even if in an insignificant amount)

  • Did they speculate on the cause that'd have on human beings? I remember that special fox did about the moon landing being fake. most damaging evidence to the us gov't was the radiation field that a human being would be killed if they passed through. And would need much more than a foot of shielding to protect them.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!