Thanks to data compiled by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), Russian scientists establish that the borders of the Earth’s atmosphere are, in reality, 630,000 kilometers.
This means that the Moon, the only place outside the earth’s surface trodden by man, is within this limit.
The atmosphere of the Earth extends far beyond what was believed until now, according to a recent study by Russian researchers based on scientific observations that for more than 20 years were in archives, waiting for the day they would be analyzed.
Thanks to data collected between 1996 and 1998 by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) of NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), a group of scientists from the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, headed by Igor Baliukin, managed to establish that the borders of the atmosphere of our planet are, in reality, 630,000 kilometers, a distance equivalent to 50 times the diameter of the Earth.
This means that the Moon (which is situated at an average distance of 384,400 kilometers) is not outside its atmosphere, but right in the middle. In fact, the only natural satellite of our planet orbits within Earth’s atmosphere, as do its many artificial satellites.
SOHO casually obtained the revealing information while it was mapping the geocorona or terrestrial exosphere, the luminous part of the outermost region of its atmosphere formed by a cloud of hydrogen atoms that glow under the influence of ultraviolet radiation.
However, this layer is very thin and can be observed only from space, so it is very difficult to measure. Until now it was thought that its outer limit was located about 200,000 kilometers from Earth because that is the distance in which the pressure of solar radiation cancels gravity.
The real limit could be detected with precision thanks to the sensors of an instrument of the SWAN satellite. “It is often possible to take advantage of data archived for many years and to do new science with them. This discovery highlights the value of data collected more than 20 years ago and the exceptional performance of SOHO, “says ESA’s SOHO project scientist, Bernhard Fleck, quoted by ESA Science.
The bad news is that from the technical point of view, even taking into account the space launches, man never left Earth’s atmosphere .. What do you think? Leave your comment below.
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