The Thor experiment aims to investigate electrical activity from thunderstorms and convection related to water vapour transport. The experiment is named as ‘Thor’ after the god of thunder, lightning and storms in Nordic mythology. km above Earth.The experiment is conducted by European Space Agency with a thundercloud imaging system 400
In Germanic mythology, Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing and fertility. Besides Old Norse Þórr, extensions of the god occur in Old English as Þunor, and in Old High German as Donar. All forms of the deity stem from a Common Germanic *Þunraz.
The European Space Agency is an intergovernmental organisation of 22 member states dedicated to the exploration of space. Established in 1975 and headquartered in Paris, France, ESA has a worldwide staff of about 2,200 in 2018 and an annual budget of about €5.72 billion in 2019.
The project analyses electrical activity of thunderstorms by using optical cameras on the International Space Station, ground observations of lightning, and meteorological satellite observations of cloud properties.It is very difficult to capture some of the most violent electric discharges from the ground because the atmosphere blocks radiation. From International Space Station, it will be able to aim the camera, to zoom in and follow interesting regions as the Space Station passes by. The project was initiated by the Danish ESA-astronaut, Andreas Mogensen, and has already delivered valuable data for climate research.
The International Space Station (ISS) is a space station, or a habitable artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit. Its first component was launched into orbit in 1998, with the first long-term residents arriving in November 2000. It has been inhabited continuously since that date. The last pressurised module was fitted in 2011, and an experimental inflatable space habitat was added in 2016. The station is expected to operate until 2030. Development and assembly of the station continues, with several new elements scheduled for launch in 2019. The ISS is the largest human-made body in low Earth orbit and can often be seen with the naked eye from Earth. The ISS consists of pressurised habitation modules, structural trusses, solar arrays, radiators, docking ports, experiment bays and robotic arms. ISS components have been launched by Russian Proton and Soyuz rockets and American Space Shuttles.
More specifically, it studies about the transport of water from the troposphere to the stratosphere, and circulation of the stratosphere and mesosphere driven by internal gravity waves. Convective processes of the troposphere affect the transport of water vapour-a green house gas, and its circulation in both the stratosphere and mesosphere. By analysing the processes that occur in these layers, can improve atmospheric models, and provide a better understanding of Earth’s climate and weather.The experiment also studies how much water the cloud turrets can carry into the stratosphere, and how lightning influences their formation.
The troposphere is the lowest layer of Earth's atmosphere, and is also where nearly all weather conditions take place. It contains approximately 75% of the atmosphere's mass and 99% of the total mass of water vapor and aerosols. The average height of the troposphere is 18 km in the tropics, 17 km in the middle latitudes, and 6 km in the polar regions in winter. The total average height of the troposphere is 13 km.
The stratosphere is the second major layer of Earth's atmosphere, just above the troposphere, and below the mesosphere. The stratosphere is stratified (layered) in temperature, with warmer layers higher and cooler layers closer to the Earth; this increase of temperature with altitude is a result of the absorption of the Sun's ultraviolet radiation by the ozone layer. This is in contrast to the troposphere, near the Earth's surface, where temperature decreases with altitude. The border between the troposphere and stratosphere, the tropopause, marks where this temperature inversion begins. Near the equator, the stratosphere starts at as high as 20 km, around 10 km at midlatitudes, and at about 7 km at the poles. Temperatures range from an average of −51 °C near the tropopause to an average of −15 °C near the mesosphere. Stratospheric temperatures also vary within the stratosphere as the seasons change, reaching particularly low temperatures in the polar night (winter). Winds in the stratosphere can far exceed those in the troposphere, reaching near 60 m/s in the Southern polar vortex.
Thor analyses red sprites, blue and gigantic jets from the Space Station over Earth at night. Sprites appear as luminous reddish-orange flashes and last 20 milliseconds at most. They often occur in clusters within atmosphere above the troposphere at an altitude range of 50–90 km (31–56 mi). They were first photographed on July 6, 1989 by scientists from the University of Minnesota and have subsequently been captured in video recordings many thousands of times. Even though these were discovered only 20 years ago, they hold the key to comprehend the Earth's electrical circuitry that give rise to the storms and currents that churn up the atmosphere. Blue jets can move at speeds of up to 360,000 km/h (220,000 mph) and without a high speed camera they can be easily missed by the human eye.
The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities is a public research university in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota. The Minneapolis and St. Paul campuses are approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) apart, and the St. Paul campus is actually in neighboring Falcon Heights. It is the oldest and largest campus within the University of Minnesota system and has the sixth-largest main campus student body in the United States, with 50,943 students in 2018-19. The university is the flagship institution of the University of Minnesota system, and is organized into 19 colleges and schools, with sister campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, and Rochester.
Data from this experiment could improve the understanding how lightning activity powers cloud turrets, gravity waves, the structure of Transient Luminous Events above thunderstorms. According to Torsten Neubert, of Technical University of Denmark (DTU), the role of thunderstorms in our climate is significant, and Thor will help improve the predictions about the future climate and its consequences. ESA observes that the blue discharges and jets are examples of a little-understood part of our atmosphere and the associated events have implications for how our atmosphere protects us from radiation.”.The images and detailed observations of the flashes were released to the public on January 9 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters .
The Technical University of Denmark, often simply referred to as DTU, is a university in Kongens Lyngby, just north of Copenhagen, Denmark. It was founded in 1829 at the initiative of Hans Christian Ørsted as Denmark's first polytechnic, and is today ranked among Europe's leading engineering institutions.
Geophysical Research Letters is a biweekly peer-reviewed scientific journal of geoscience published by the American Geophysical Union that was established in 1974. The editor-in-chief is Noah Diffenbaugh.
The Thor experience will team up with the Atmosphere-Space Interaction Monitor (ASIM) experiment on a platform outside the Columbus module in 2017. The ASIM experiment will attempt to observe two ultraviolet optical bands, as well as the X- and gamma-rays, a first for the Space Station.
The mesosphere is the layer of the Earth's atmosphere that is directly above the stratosphere and directly below the thermosphere. In the mesosphere, temperature decreases as the altitude increases. This characteristic is used to define its limits: it begins at the top of the stratosphere, and ends at the mesopause, which is the coldest part of Earth's atmosphere with temperatures below −143 °C. The exact upper and lower boundaries of the mesosphere vary with latitude and with season, but the lower boundary is usually located at heights from 50 to 65 kilometres above the Earth's surface and the upper boundary (mesopause) is usually around 85 to 100 kilometres.
The stratopause is the level of the atmosphere which is the boundary between two layers: the stratosphere and the mesosphere. In the stratosphere the temperature increases with altitude, and the stratopause is the region where a maximum in the temperature occurs. This atmospheric feature is not only associated with Earth: it occurs on any other planet or moon that has an atmosphere as well.
The atmosphere of Earth is the layer of gases, commonly known as air, that surrounds the planet Earth and is retained by Earth's gravity. The atmosphere of Earth protects life on Earth by creating pressure allowing for liquid water to exist on the Earth's surface, absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation, warming the surface through heat retention, and reducing temperature extremes between day and night.
Heat lightning, sometimes known as silent lightning, summer lightning, or dry lightning, is a misnomer used for the faint flashes of lightning on the horizon or other clouds from distant thunderstorms that do not appear to have accompanying sounds of thunder.
Atmospheric physics is the application of physics to the study of the atmosphere. Atmospheric physicists attempt to model Earth's atmosphere and the atmospheres of the other planets using fluid flow equations, chemical models, radiation budget, and energy transfer processes in the atmosphere. In order to model weather systems, atmospheric physicists employ elements of scattering theory, wave propagation models, cloud physics, statistical mechanics and spatial statistics which are highly mathematical and related to physics. It has close links to meteorology and climatology and also covers the design and construction of instruments for studying the atmosphere and the interpretation of the data they provide, including remote sensing instruments. At the dawn of the space age and the introduction of sounding rockets, aeronomy became a subdiscipline concerning the upper layers of the atmosphere, where dissociation and ionization are important.
A terrestrial gamma-ray flash (TGF) is a burst of gamma rays produced in Earth's atmosphere. TGFs have been recorded to last 0.2 to 3.5 milliseconds, and have energies of up to 20 million electronvolts. It is speculated that TGFs are caused by intense electric fields produced above or inside thunderstorms. Scientists have also detected energetic positrons and electrons produced by terrestrial gamma-ray flashes.
This is a list of meteorology topics. The terms relate to meteorology, the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere that focuses on weather processes and forecasting.
Aeronomy is the meteorological science of the upper region of the Earth's or other planetary atmospheres, which relates to the atmospheric motions, its chemical composition and properties, and the reaction to it from the environment from space. The term aeronomy was introduced by Sydney Chapman in a Letter to the Editor of Nature entitled Some Thoughts on Nomenclature in 1946. Studies within the subject also investigate the causes of dissociation or ionization processes.
Atmospheric electricity is the study of electrical charges in the Earth's atmosphere. The movement of charge between the Earth's surface, the atmosphere, and the ionosphere is known as the global atmospheric electrical circuit. Atmospheric electricity is an interdisciplinary topic with a long history, involving concepts from electrostatics, atmospheric physics, meteorology and Earth science.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Earth science:
SCIAMACHY was one of ten instruments aboard of ESA's ENVIronmental SATellite, ENVISAT. It was a satellite spectrometer designed to measure sunlight, transmitted, reflected and scattered by the earth's atmosphere or surface in the ultraviolet, visible and near infrared wavelength region at moderate spectral resolution .. SCIAMACHY was built by Netherlands and Germany at TNO/TPD, SRON and Dutch Space.
The atmosphere of Venus is the layer of gases surrounding Venus. It is composed primarily of carbon dioxide and is much denser and hotter than that of Earth. The temperature at the surface is 740 K, and the pressure is 93 bar (9.3 MPa), roughly the pressure found 900 m (3,000 ft) underwater on Earth. The Venusian atmosphere supports opaque clouds made of sulfuric acid, making optical Earth-based and orbital observation of the surface impossible. Information about the topography has been obtained exclusively by radar imaging. Aside from carbon dioxide, the other main component is nitrogen. Other chemical compounds are present only in trace amounts.
The microwave limb sounder (MLS) experiments measure microwave thermal emission from the limb (edge) of Earth's upper atmosphere. The data is used to create vertical profiles of atmospheric gases, temperature, pressure, and cloud ice.
Upper-atmospheric lightning or ionospheric lightning are terms sometimes used by researchers to refer to a family of short-lived electrical-breakdown phenomena that occur well above the altitudes of normal lightning and storm clouds. Upper-atmospheric lightning is believed to be electrically induced forms of luminous plasma. The preferred usage is transient luminous event (TLE), because the various types of electrical-discharge phenomena in the upper atmosphere lack several characteristics of the more familiar tropospheric lightning.
Sprites are large-scale electrical discharges that occur high above thunderstorm clouds, or cumulonimbus, giving rise to a quite varied range of visual shapes flickering in the night sky. They are usually triggered by the discharges of positive lightning between an underlying thundercloud and the ground.
Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) is a project led by the European Space Agency that will place cameras and X-ray/γ-ray detectors on the International Space Station, where it will observe the upper atmosphere to study sprites, jets and elves and terrestrial gamma-ray flashes in connection with thunderstorms. It is hoped that measurements of these phenomena from space will contribute to the understanding of Earth's upper atmosphere.
Swarm is a European Space Agency (ESA) mission to study the Earth's magnetic field. High-precision and high-resolution measurements of the strength, direction and variations of the Earth's magnetic field, complemented by precise navigation, accelerometer and electric field measurements, will provide data for modelling the geomagnetic field and its interaction with other physical aspects of the Earth system. The results offer a view of the inside of the Earth from space, enabling the composition and processes of the interior to be studied in detail and increase our knowledge of atmospheric processes and ocean circulation patterns that affect climate and weather.
Andreas Enevold Mogensen is a Danish engineer and astronaut. He was the first Dane to fly in space as part of the iriss programme.
This glossary of meteorology is a list of terms and concepts relevant to meteorology and the atmospheric sciences, their sub-disciplines, and related fields.