Scientists say they have confirmed the existence of space hurricanes and have discovered a 600-mile-wide mass on the North Pole.
Researchers led by Shandong University in China used satellite data to identify the space hurricane, which found that it was ionized plasma gas, not the wind speed.
The mass rained electrons instead of water and lasted almost eight hours before it failed.
Reading University astronaut Professor Mike Lockwood says hurricanes can be a global phenomenon on planets and moons with magnetic fields and plasma.
He said: “Until now, it is uncertain whether there were even space plasma hurricanes, so it is unbelievable to prove this with such clear observation.
“Tropical storms are associated with abundant energy, and these space hurricanes must be created by the extraction of extraordinarily large and rapid solar wind energy and charged particles into the Earth’s upper atmosphere.
“Plasma and magnetic fields in the planet’s atmosphere are all over the universe, so the findings suggest that space hurricanes should be a widespread phenomenon.”
Space hurricanes, which occur during low geomagnetic activity, share many features with hurricanes in the Earth’s atmosphere – a quiet center, vortex arms, and widespread rotation.
These are expected to lead to spatial weather effects such as increased satellite frequency, disruption of high frequency radio communications and increased errors in radar space above the horizon.
The results were published in Nature Communications.