NASA discovers unexpected X-shaped structures in Earth’s upper atmosphere — and scientists are struggling to explain them

A NASA satellite has discovered unexpected X- and C-shaped structures in Earth’s ionosphere. This layer of electrified gas in the planet’s atmosphere allows radio signals to travel great distances.

The ionosphere is an electrified region in the Earth’s atmosphere that exists because of radiation from the sun hits the atmosphere. Its density increases during the day because the molecules become electrically charged. That’s because sunlight causes electrons to break off of atoms and molecules, creating plasma that allows radio signals to travel long distances. The density of the ionosphere decreases at night — and that’s where GOLD comes in.

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