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Fire in the Sky SpaceXs ionospheric holes call into question Fire in the Sky SpaceXs ionospheric holes call into question

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Fire in the Sky: SpaceX’s ionospheric “holes” call into question astronomical research

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As SpaceX continues to launch aggressively—the company is aiming for 100 successful launches by 2023—it has become the source of “atmospheric holes” that have raised concerns among scientists.

Astronomers have discovered a new phenomenon they call “the northern lights resulting from the fall of SpaceX rocket boosters.” These impacts temporarily create holes in the ionosphere, causing a red glow reminiscent of the northern lights.

It has been known for years that rocket launches can create holes in the upper ionosphere, a layer of the atmosphere between 80 and 644 kilometers above the Earth’s surface where the air is ionized. As a result of such holes, gas molecules in the ionosphere are excited and emit bright red light, similar to the northern lights.

Fire in the Sky: SpaceX's ionospheric

A wide band of red light over Arizona after the SpaceX Falcon 9 launch in July. Source: Jeremy Perez

For example, in July, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket created a hole over Arizona, and in September, a US Space Force rocket punched an ionospheric hole over California, resulting in a faint reddish glow. Recently, astronomers at McDonald Observatory in Texas noticed a similar red glow after the Falcon 9 rocket exited the Earth’s atmosphere.

Astronomers first spotted the “SpaceX northern lights” in February, and are now seeing 2 or more of them every month, according to Stephen Hummel, an astronomer at McDonald Observatory.

The occurrence of holes in the ionosphere is associated with the release of rocket fuel into the ionosphere during its launch. This causes the ionized atoms to recombine, or return to normal gas molecules, causing a red glow similar to the northern lights caused by solar radiation. In this case, a kind of “hole” is formed in the surrounding plasma or ionized gas. However, these holes close after 10-20 minutes as a result of the re-ionization of the molecules.

SpaceX’s boosters release fuel during the fall to prevent it from falling into populated areas and to direct debris into the Atlantic Ocean. The resulting holes typically appear over the central and southern United States 90 minutes after launch at an altitude of about 300 kilometers. They are more spherical in shape compared to the holes created during a rocket launch, and accordingly, the glow produced by these holes is also more spherical in shape and does not remain for a long time.

Despite the fact that ionospheric holes do not pose a threat to life on Earth, their impact on astronomical observations has not yet been fully appreciated. Changes in the ionosphere can also affect shortwave radio communications and GPS signals.

Studying these holes could help scientists gain more information about the chemical processes occurring in the ionosphere, as the density of the ionosphere varies from night to night, and such events could help unravel their nature, according to a commentary by physicist Jeffrey Baumgardner of Boston University.

In addition, SpaceX rockets create other lighting effects. As rocket boosters fall, they release their remaining fuel in the upper atmosphere, creating a cloud of small ice crystals. Under certain conditions, these crystals can reflect sunlight, causing the illuminated fuel to create bright spirals in the night sky, nicknamed “SpaceX Spirals.”

This year, observers recorded two such spirals: the first appeared in January over Mauna Kea in Hawaii, and the second in April during the traditional northern lights in Alaska.

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BYD Song Pro DM-i Honor Edition crossover presented: 197 hp, consumption 4.4 l/100 km, more than 1000 km on a tank of gasoline and top-end equipment for 18 thousand dollars

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BYD Song Pro DM i Honor Edition crossover presented 197 hp

BYD continues to flood the Chinese market with affordable cars and hybrids: after the BYD Tang DM-i Honor Edition, the BYD Song Pro DM-i Honor Edition entered the local market, and it turned out to be almost 2.8 thousand dollars cheaper than last year’s Song Pro DM-i . At the same time, the reduction in price did not affect the characteristics or equipment in any way.

BYD Song Pro DM-i Honor Edition crossover presented: 197 hp, consumption 4.4 l/100 km, more than 1000 km on a tank of gasoline and top-end equipment for 18 thousand dollars

You can distinguish BYD Song Pro DM-i Honor Edition from last year’s Song Pro DM-i by a different radiator grille. As for the dimensions, they have not changed: 4738 x 1860 x 1710 mm with a wheelbase length of 2712 mm.

BYD Song Pro DM-i Honor Edition crossover presented: 197 hp, consumption 4.4 l/100 km, more than 1000 km on a tank of gasoline and top-end equipment for 18 thousand dollars

BYD Song Pro DM-i Honor Edition crossover presented: 197 hp, consumption 4.4 l/100 km, more than 1000 km on a tank of gasoline and top-end equipment for 18 thousand dollars

The power plant is represented by a 1.5-liter turbo engine with a power of 110 hp, it is combined with an electric motor with a power of 197 hp. and e-CVT variator. There are two options for traction battery capacity: 12.9 kWh and 18.3 kWh. Accordingly, the first provides a range of 59 km on pure electricity, the second – 85 km (according to the WLTC methodology). The maximum range, measured using the NEDC method, reaches 1090 km.

BYD Song Pro DM-i Honor Edition crossover presented: 197 hp, consumption 4.4 l/100 km, more than 1000 km on a tank of gasoline and top-end equipment for 18 thousand dollars

The top versions of the crossover have a digital dashboard with an 8.8-inch screen, a media system with a 15.6-inch screen, ventilated and heated front seats, and a 9-speaker sound system. The cost of the crossover varies from 15.3 to 19.4 thousand dollars.

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The newest Toyota Camry has not become a hit in China, even despite its low prices. In two months, only 8 thousand pre-orders were collected

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The newest Toyota Camry has not become a hit in

The joint venture GAC Toyota reported on car sales in February of this year: last month the company sold 43,271 cars. By comparison, GAC Toyota sold 71,875 vehicles in January. The drop in sales is explained by the New Year in China (and, accordingly, the decline in consumer activity during this period), but sales also decreased relative to February last year, by an impressive 35%.

The newest Toyota Camry has not become a hit in China, even despite its low prices.  In two months, only 8 thousand pre-orders were collected

The newest Toyota Camry has not become a hit in China, even despite its low prices.  In two months, only 8 thousand pre-orders were collected

Statistics on pre-orders for the newest Toyota Camry, the ninth generation sedan, have also been announced. Since January 1, a total of 8,049 purchase applications have been issued. And this is not enough: for comparison, 5 thousand orders were placed in China for the newest Toyota Land Cruiser 250 in just an hour. Perhaps Camry sales will increase after March 6, when the new Camry officially enters the Chinese market: then retail prices will be announced, and they are usually lower than pre-order prices.

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Car News

The newest Toyota Camry has not become a hit in China, even despite its low prices. In two months, only 8 thousand pre-orders were collected

Published

on

The newest Toyota Camry has not become a hit in

The joint venture GAC Toyota reported on car sales in February of this year: last month the company sold 43,271 cars. By comparison, GAC Toyota sold 71,875 vehicles in January. The drop in sales is explained by the New Year in China (and, accordingly, the decline in consumer activity during this period), but sales also decreased relative to February last year, by an impressive 35%.

The newest Toyota Camry has not become a hit in China, even despite its low prices.  In two months, only 8 thousand pre-orders were collected

The newest Toyota Camry has not become a hit in China, even despite its low prices.  In two months, only 8 thousand pre-orders were collected

Statistics on pre-orders for the newest Toyota Camry, the ninth generation sedan, have also been announced. Since January 1, a total of 8,049 purchase applications have been issued. And this is not enough: for comparison, 5 thousand orders were placed in China for the newest Toyota Land Cruiser 250 in just an hour. Perhaps Camry sales will increase after March 6, when the new Camry officially enters the Chinese market: then retail prices will be announced, and they are usually lower than pre-order prices.

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