- Observations made by the SOHO spacecraft over 20 years ago lead to a new discovery
- Geocorona .
The geocorona stretches well The Moon, Reveals a Study
It turns out that the outer part of the Earth's atmosphere stretches considerably the lunar orbit. In fact, it goes as far as the distance to the Moon
This is a product of observations at the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) ̵
Measurements taken over 20 years ago by SOHO got a fresh look in a new study, which came to remarkable conclusions. What the data showed is that geocorona a hydrogen envelope that wraps around our planet, extends up to 630,000 km (391,464 miles) away from it. This distance is 50 times the Earth's diameter
Earth's geocorona from the Moon. An ultraviolet picture taken in 1972 with camera operated by Apollo 16 astronauts on the Moon.
Igor Baliukin of Russia's Space Research Institute, the lead author of the study on the subject, explained that "the Moon flies through Earth's atmosphere."
The geocorona appears where the planet's atmosphere comes into contact with outer space. It's essentially a cloud of hydrogen atoms. Between 1996 and 1998, SWAN an instrument related to the SOHO spacecraft, was able to use its sensors to follow hydrogen signatures, thus pinpointing the edges of the geocorona.
"Data archived many years ago can often be exploited for new science," said Bernhard Fleck, ESA SOHO project scientist. "This discovery highlights the value of data collected over 20 years ago and the exceptional performance of SOHO."
The extent of Earth's geocorona.
Besides being transformative in understanding our own atmosphere, the discovery may be helpful in searching for planets with water beyond our Solar System. Detecting the presence of hydrogen in their outer atmospheres can mean the presence of water vapor near the surface.
Check out more SOHO accomplishments over 20 years in space:
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