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Photo: NASA

For the first time, scientists spotted a "space hurricane" — a mass of plasma hundreds of miles above the North Pole, raining electrons, not water — using satellite data from 2014.

Why it matters: The new finding could help scientists learn more about how the Sun affects Earth's atmosphere, gathering more details on how space weather might harm satellites and other objects in orbit.

  • "Until now, it was uncertain that space plasma hurricanes even existed, so to prove this with such a striking observation is incredible," Mike Lockwood, an author of the study in Nature Communications about the discovery, said in a statement.

What they did: The international team created a 3D model of the space hurricane that looked very much like the more commonly known hurricanes found swirling above oceans around the world.

  • The space hurricane — thought to be a result of the solar wind and Earth's magnetic field interacting — was found spinning counterclockwise, with spiral arms and it lasted for eight hours, according to the study.
  • The researchers think these kinds of storms could also create more drag on satellites and interfere with radio signals and communications, making these events particularly important to understand.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
18 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Key clean power provision likely won't survive in Dems' spending bill

A construction worker walks along a dirt road at the Avangrid Renewables La Joya wind farm in Encino, New Mexico, on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Cate Dingley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pillar of Democrats' plans to speed deployment of zero-carbon electricity is likely to be cut from major spending and tax legislation they are struggling to move on a party-line vote, per multiple reports and a Capitol Hill aide.

Driving the news: The New York Times, citing anonymous congressional aides and lobbyists, reports that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has told the White House he "strongly opposes" the Clean Electricity Performance Program.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England on Friday.

The big picture: The Metropolitan Police has found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."

Biden: DOJ should prosecute those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas

President Biden speaks with reporters at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that the Justice Department should prosecute those who defy subpoenas from the Jan. 6 select committee.

Why it matters: The president's remarks come one day after Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon failed to show up for a deposition before the committee.