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Tsunami lit up the heavens

Camera captures quake-triggered atmospheric ripples over Hawaii

By
12:51pm, June 16, 2011

Japan’s recent monster earthquake did more than jolt the island nation and send a tsunami racing across the Pacific Ocean. Hundreds of kilometers overhead, that tsunami also lit up the atmosphere in celestial glowing ripples.

In the first picture of its kind, scientists photographed these “airglow” ripples as they washed over Hawaii hours after the quake. The report will appear in an upcoming Geophysical Research Letters.

“It’s just total serendipity that we got this measurement,” says team leader Jonathan Makela, a s

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