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Lightning-made Waves In Earth's Atmosphere Leak Into Space

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the great-now-the-fithp-will-find-us dept.

NASA 72

TheNextCorner sends this quote from NASA: "At any given moment about 2,000 thunderstorms roll over Earth, producing some 50 flashes of lightning every second. Each lightning burst creates electromagnetic waves that begin to circle around Earth, captured between Earth's surface and a boundary about 60 miles up. Some of the waves – if they have just the right wavelength – combine, increasing in strength, to create a repeating atmospheric heartbeat known as Schumann resonance. ... NASA's Vector Electric Field Instrument aboard the U.S. Air Force's Communications/Navigation Outage Forecast System satellite has detected Schumann resonance from space. This comes as a surprise, since current models of Schumann resonance predict these waves should be caged at lower altitude, between the ground and a layer of Earth's atmosphere called the ionosphere."

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72 comments

Makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38210102)

Hey, when the world breaks wind...sometimes a little bit escapes the chamber. Nomsayin?

Re:Makes no sense (4, Interesting)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38210290)

Well, it's not so much the wind escaping the chamber, more along the lines of the sound making it out. The only thing "getting out" is electromagnetic waves - and to be honest, I am surprised that the atmosphere actually keeps most of them in. If you think about it, I guess is makes sense, given you can bounce radio signals off the atmosphere to get the signal past the horizon and such - but I was just surprised that electromagnetic waves from lightning get caught inside our atmosphere.

Re:Makes no sense (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38210524)

Well, it's not so much the wind escaping the chamber, more along the lines of the sound making it out. The only thing "getting out" is electromagnetic waves - and to be honest, I am surprised that the atmosphere actually keeps most of them in. If you think about it, I guess is makes sense, given you can bounce radio signals off the atmosphere to get the signal past the horizon and such - but I was just surprised that electromagnetic waves from lightning get caught inside our atmosphere.

You can hear them on your radio around 2-3mhz.

Re:Makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38216346)

No, the only thing getting out isn't just electromagnetic waves... We've been leaking atmosphere for a long, long, time. It is slow, but it does happen.

Re:Makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38218040)

Yes, electromagnetic radiation (radio/tv) refracts at the ionization layer of the atmosphere called the ionisphere. Note that you can use Snells law to approximate the refraction since it looks like reflection, what Snells law actually applies to, but at a higher altitude since refraction looks like reflection but at a higher altitude. The actual formula to calculate refraction is the integral of the rate of change of the density of the ionisphere (or at least its ability to change the direction the the em radiation) and the incident angle of that radiation, and there will be a critical point where the angle of the radiation will be orthoginal to the surface of the earth, (which is where you would approximate using Snells law). Note that the ionisphere can only refract e-m radiation at lower frequencies: UHF and higher frequency e-m radiation is increasingly difficult to refract as the frequency increases, and it will always refract, but not enough to become orthoginal to the surface and eventually return a signal to earth.

this is a (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38210108)

striking discovery

Re:this is a (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 2 years ago | (#38210162)

I think shocking would of been a better word choice.

Re:this is a (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38210270)

And "would have" would've been a better choice of words for you :)

Re:this is a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38210430)

I believe you mean "would've" which = "would have".

Re:this is a (1)

eugene2k (1213062) | more than 2 years ago | (#38211468)

Using some flashy words there, I see...

Re:this is a (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#38217258)

Naither, actually. It doesn't strike sixty miles up, and if it doesn't strike, no shock.

Yeah, yeah, woosh, I know...

Re:this is a (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38211120)

*cue sunglasses* yyyeeeeeaaaaaaaa!!!!!

Re:this is a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38211554)

More shocking than anything else.

Re:this is a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38211594)

This is great banter, but I've got to bolt.

Schumann ... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38210116)

was a big proponent of cycles.

(If 2 people get this, I'll be impressed ; )

Re:Schumann ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38210224)

Dichterliebe, Frauenliebe und -leben, Kerner Lieder

Re:Schumann ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38210236)

I get that you think using one parenthesis to close a parenthetical statement and as a smiley is ok. You dumb fuck.

Re:Schumann ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38210744)

I get that you think using one parenthesis to close a parenthetical statement and as a smiley is ok. You dumb fuck.

Which means you don't get it at all, you dumb fuck. Only someone with an IQ greater than 43 should try anyway.

Re:Schumann ... (1)

F34nor (321515) | more than 2 years ago | (#38210386)

7.8 Hz bitches.

Damn... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38210176)

Damn global warming!!!

Re:Damn... (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38210338)

Damn global warming!!!

The opposite, by definition.

Evanescent wave? (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38210216)

Is this just picking up an evanescent wave on a really large scale or is the radiation actually getting away from the planet? An evanescent wave is the optical equivalent of tunneling...

but but but (4, Funny)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38210220)

You mean atmospheric models aren't perfect predictors of atmospheric phenomena? DENIERS!

Re:but but but (1)

c6gunner (950153) | about 2 years ago | (#38216090)

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

Welcome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38210222)

I, for one, welcome our new Sonic Overlords!

Leaking energy (4, Interesting)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | more than 2 years ago | (#38210246)

Is this like other waveguide phenomena, where the first or second-order approximation says the energy vanishes exponentially within a fraction of a wavelength around the waveguide, but if you don't want your radar set (or microwave oven) to explode, you still need to invest heavily in ventilation and/or liquid cooling?

Re:Leaking energy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38210370)

Not exactly, in the waveguide scenario it is a field, in earth's case it is actively propagating away, therefore the earth is a radiator.

Re:Leaking energy (2)

noelhenson (691861) | more than 2 years ago | (#38210394)

Actually the ionosphere forms both a waveguide and a capacitor with the Earth itself. Changes in potential, even in waveguide scenarios, will still radiate out into space.

Class M Planet Discovery (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38210358)

I suppose Schumann resonance occur on similar planets as well, and should be detectable.

exactly, brilliant (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#38210414)

how far away is this detectable? this may be how you find other earth-like blue orbs

until of course, they find the liquid ammonia planet that schumann resonates like nobody's business, populated by little mr. cleans and scrubbing bubbles i suppose

Re:exactly, brilliant (3, Informative)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 2 years ago | (#38210932)

how far away is this detectable? this may be how you find other earth-like blue orbs

until of course, they find the liquid ammonia planet that schumann resonates like nobody's business, populated by little mr. cleans and scrubbing bubbles i suppose

My guess is, that since it's eletromagentic, it follows the inverse-square law.

Re:Class M Planet Discovery (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38211086)

I believe there is lightning on Venus, Jupiter and several other bodies in the Solar System so theoretically you could detect it there as well.

Re:Class M Planet Discovery (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38211386)

Electromagnetic pulses from Jupiter can be detected in the Amateur 15 Meter Band, approx 21 Mcs (No damn hertz for me. That's a car rental company. Been banging out CW since I wuz a kid, and I ain't a kid no more.)

Re:Class M Planet Discovery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38211770)

You do know hertz dates back to 1930, right? Just because the USA didn't catch up till the 70s or 80s doesn't make it proper porch-yelling material -- unless your age really is approaching 3 digits, in which case good lord, man, what are you doing on /.?

Re:Class M Planet Discovery (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#38218250)

Hz was around before the car rental, iinm. And it honors a great man. MCS confused me for a minute, I remember (dimly, I do remember being annoyed that thay changed Cycles Per Second to Hz). I would have caught mCS.

Re:Class M Planet Discovery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38212632)

Probably is.

Most agree that lightning was the literal spark to what caused most of the molecule species to come in to existence.
Without it, life may have very well taken a much longer time to come about just from heat of lava sources and object collisions alone.

Unless of course we are aliens. Could still have happened. Some planet away in the distance could have been smashed to pieces and scattered bacteria all over the galaxy for all we know.
That'd really throw our calculations off.

So you can put thir worry to rest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38216992)

..the worry where some people believe that all the radio transmissions mankind has been sending into space is a bad idea possibly attracting the attention of aliens that might have hostile intent or would want to raid our planet for natural resources... since the planet itself has been transmitting information into space for much longer than mankind has been able to make radio transmissions, and anyone "out there" who knows how to detect those transmissions would've already been able to home in on them.

more proof of my political philosophy (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38210422)

can't be any clearer. my tarianism is obviously correct, proved yet again. if only you foolish mortals would see my wisdom.

VLF detectable in space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38210600)

Comes as no surprise...

thanks einstein (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38210630)

U.S. Air Force's Communications/Navigation Outage Forecast System satellite has detected Schumann resonance from space

I think the real news would be if this were NOT detected in space.

It leaks, Jim! (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 2 years ago | (#38210736)

NASA's Vector Electric Field Instrument aboard the U.S. Air Force's Communications/Navigation Outage Forecast System satellite has detected Schumann resonance from space. This comes as a surprise, since current models of Schumann resonance predict these waves should be caged at lower altitude, between the ground and a layer of Earth's atmosphere called the ionosphere.

Darn! There goes my plans to build Tesla's wireless power plant.

The frequencies (5, Interesting)

IceFoot (256699) | more than 2 years ago | (#38210836)

According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] , the resonances occur at extremely low frequencies (ELF) around 7.83 (fundamental), 14.3, 20.8, 27.3 and 33.8 Hz. That's Hertz, not megaHertz. Now, how can we tune them in? I, for one, do not own a radio that can receive those frequencies.

Re:The frequencies (4, Informative)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#38210864)

33.8Hz can be picked up with the human ear. Mad Bass.

No it can't (5, Informative)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#38211322)

It can't pick up these waves, because the human ear picks up sound, not magnetic waves. There are some bones in your sinuses that are magnetoceptic, but studies have yet to get detailed. It's such a rudimentary sense that you are barely able to pick up the magnetic north with it, so it's highly questionable that you'd be able to pick up rapidly alternating differences in magnetic fields.

It is however proven that these magnetoceptic bones are a real human sense. So yes, there's at least a sixth sense there. Oh, for that matter, totally off topic, your balance sense (inner ear) also counts, so make that a seventh, or an eighth, if you count the receptors for pheromones in your nasal cavity as well (debatable, since it's a form of smell, just not consciously perceived).

Re:No it can't (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 2 years ago | (#38211640)

But maybe they are more sensitive to changing magntic fields than to stationary fields.

Re:No it can't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38213250)

And don't forget proprioception.

So, amongst our senses are such as magnetoception, balance, ... I'll come in again.

Re:No it can't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38213298)

And don't forget proprioception! In cases of brain injury, it can be lost separately from the sense of touch.

Re:No it can't (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38214460)

There is well over 10 distinctly separate senses in humans.

There is also the odd cases, such as human echolocation, which shows that it may well have been common in the ancestors we shared with dolphins.

Then there is the hypersensitive types, such as those supertasters. (not so much separate sense though)

Then there is the completely weird ones, such as the ability to see polarized light (I can), Haidinger's Brush I think is how it is spelled.
With the brush, it is believed that most people are actually capable of detecting it with some training on how to see it.
I have to link to some stuff on seeing Haidinger's brush, it always fascinates when people finally see it.
Oh, and Tetrachromats who have distinctly separate 4th color detection around the yellow colors I think. (only females though)
Makes me wonder how they would see those RGBY screens that were made recently.

Re:No it can't (3, Informative)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 2 years ago | (#38214970)

Your ears may not be able to detect these, but your computer's soundcard can [www.vlf.it] . It can also detect all sorts of other ELF transmissions. Check out http://www.vlf.it/ [www.vlf.it] - fascinating stuff!

Re:No it can't (2)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 years ago | (#38220330)

"It's such a rudimentary sense that you are barely able to pick up the magnetic north with it"

Actually, I have no issues doing that totally blindfolded. I have a very strong innate sense of direction, even with the disadvantage of suffering from BPPV.

Re:The frequencies (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38213780)

Actually, the human ear could pick them all up with enough SPL IF they were pressure waves instead of EM.
The ear's sensitivity just decreases below ~20Hz, and it requires greater input to register the sound in your head.

With a couple of 15"s in an EBS configuration it is easy to get enough SPL to hear to ~15Hz in a normal sized room. Ask Tom Danley about 3Hz form his Sonic Boom Generator.

Re:The frequencies (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#38218310)

Only if you have a reciever tuned to 33.8 Hz with great big speakers (you need a speaker capable of reproducing a tone that low, and few can). You can't hear EMF. ELFs are real, not just in Middle Earth! Most speakers, even the best, don't go down that far.

Re:The frequencies (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 years ago | (#38220360)

"(you need a speaker capable of reproducing a tone that low, and few can"

Pretty much every modern headphone and multi-speaker tower out there has a response range with the low end starting ~20Hz.

Re:The frequencies (4, Informative)

Khyber (864651) | more than 2 years ago | (#38210872)

To add, 33.8 is a slightly sharp C1. It's about halfway between C1 and C#1 on the musical frequency scale.

Re:The frequencies (4, Funny)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 2 years ago | (#38211800)

It's about halfway between C1 and C#1 on the musical frequency scale.

So, it's Java1?

Re:The frequencies (1)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | more than 2 years ago | (#38212980)

Yeah, and a green laser (532nm, 563THz) would be a slightly flat C44.
You might say it's too high for the human ear.
I might answer you can't hear electro-magnetic waves either, even at 440Hz.

Re:The frequencies (2)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 years ago | (#38220314)

We have plenty of software that can allow us to 'hear' things.

This is how I hunt for exoplanets. I take the Kepler data, input the plotted brightness measurements, assign each area a musical note, and then LISTEN to it.

Much easier to listen for a pattern like this than to look for it amongst seemingly random noise.

Re:The frequencies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38211390)

According to Wikipedia, the resonances occur at extremely low frequencies (ELF) around 7.83 (fundamental), 14.3, 20.8, 27.3 and 33.8 Hz. That's Hertz, not megaHertz. Now, how can we tune them in? I, for one, do not own a radio that can receive those frequencies.

EMR from lightning is broadband you can pick it up over thousands of miles on lower bands up to 30 meters depending on time of day.

Sorry this does not answer your question..I have no clue how to receive ELF signals nor do I understand how such low frequencies are making it thru the ionosphere.

Re:The frequencies (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 2 years ago | (#38214990)

http://www.vlf.it/ [www.vlf.it] - all sorts of ways to receive ELF/VLF with a soundcard.

Re:The frequencies (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38211874)

Not a surprise (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38211218)

Given the fact that governments and scientists have been blasting the ionosphere and magnetosphere with elf transmissions from haarp and tesla technology for decades. Now the best we can hope for is that the sun remains dormant with no new or heavy solar flare activity because its real close now to the time when earth will no longer possess the ability to guard us from a direct hit. Thanks a lot you assholes.

Prior Art (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38211302)

The so-called discovered phenomenon is precisely what Tesla was using in the 1890s to transmit power. He also said that he had bounced signals off the moon using the same method. Thunderstorms were exactly the method he used to discover that the electrical standing waves existed around the Earth- his detectors showed that the signals from lightning emitted by storms got quiter as they travelled away, then louder again, as the storm passed along the peak and trough of a wave and thus attenuated the signal in his detector. He used this discovery to calculate how the earth and atmosphere could be used as an immense capacitor and power pumped into it, and could be picked up by an appropriately tuned receiver anywhere on the earth with transmission losses of between 1-5%. At the time it was like voodoo magic- now we know it as simple high voltage/high frequency alternating current. Get the numbers right and its not very hard.

Powers my House ..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38211358)

I can't speak to whether the Schumann Resonance leaks into space or not but on my ranch, I have set up an antenna to capture the electromagnetic waves from thunderstorms and they feed into my house covering about 80% of my household's power needs. Given that, some may leak into space but some leaks into my house.

Re:Powers my House ..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38213670)

Do you know how much damage you can do this way? Probably you are the true reason for global warming! :-)

oblig. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38212332)

I never thought I'd see a resonance cascade, let alone create one.

Duh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38213464)

Well what happens if the lightning occurs above the Ionsphere? It will be picked up by a satalite

freqs (1)

sumdumbskibum (817386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38214324)

Wikipedia is wrong due in part to our fundamental misunderstandings of em. The waves of energy reffered to are called bi-longitudinal em waves. The freq discussed here are not in the hertzian freq range, but much lower. More in the 6 - 8 cycles range, similar to where are brains neurochemistry operates. Nicola Tesla has been the most accurate in his observation of this phenomenon while in colorado springs, in fact his power transmission tower used resonance to generate a larger wave period while his em waves circled the globe. The reason for the escape from our atmosphere comes down to electron pair production/ annialation process. HAARP technology would be a good place to start to be able to recreate/observe/measure this phenomenon better. Even though they clearly state that those freq ranges cannot be reproduced by their machine, go to another country that has this technology and im sure you will find the representation of said idea in its infancy/entirety depending on the country and direction they took the technology

Re:freqs (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#38218408)

The freq discussed here are not in the hertzian freq range, but much lower. More in the 6 - 8 cycles range

Hz = cps. 6-8 cycles = 6-8 Hz.

So (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38215426)

If we combine electricity of just the right wave length it will increase in strength. could that give us all we need. Could it be collected in space and converted to microwave and beamed back down. hmm Big science projects just what we need.

Exoplanet detection? (1)

WDancer (1201777) | about 2 years ago | (#38216830)

I wonder if this could possibly be used for exoplanet detection. It sounds like it may have a distinctive radio signal. Any radio astronomers want to reply?
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