Solar wind pushes atmospheric breathing

Solar wind pushes atmospheric breathing

New analyses of satellite data show that cycles of expansion and contraction are tied to changes in the solar wind

By Sid Perkins, 13:01 PM December 16, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO — Analyses of satellite data reveal that Earth’s atmosphere expands and contracts in response to short-term variations in the solar wind. Understanding this previously unrecognized phenomenon and how it affects objects traveling in low-Earth orbits will enable scientists to better track satellites, and to track the space junk that threatens them.

Besides the more than 800 satellites in low-Earth orbit, more than 17,000 pieces of space junk also circle the planet, reported Jeff...

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