NASA to probe odd gap in Earth’s atmosphere that opens once a day at North Pole

A strange anomaly in the earth's atmosphere has been spotted.

Found 250 miles about the North Pole, a “funnel-shaped gap” which opens up in the Earth's magnetic field appears only once per day, according to The Mirror.

And it can only be viewed at noon, local time, when the Sun is at its highest point in the sky.

While it might not seem to much of a worry, the magnetic field about the North Pole stops particles of the Sun reaching Earth, but this newly-found gap can cause an issue for satellites and spacecraft.

NASA scientists who spotted it, have also noticed that it is interfering with radio and GPS signals in the area.

And weirdly, any aircraft passing the area seem to slow down when the space opens up.

NASA has said that it is attempting to find out why the space appears, but they have not yet been able to do so.

A test will be carried out by shooting a sounding rocket from Norway into the air.

Mark Conder, principal investigator and physicist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, said: “At around 250 miles above Earth, spacecraft feel more drag, sort of like they've hit a speed bump.

“You can’t just increase the mass in a region by a factor of 1.5 and do nothing else, or the sky will fall.”

According to NASA, one possibility for the hole involves electric and magnetic effects in the ionosphere, the layer of Earth’s upper atmosphere that is ionized by the Sun, meaning it contains electrically charged particles.

Electrodynamics could support the denser air indirectly, or it may cause heating that generates vertical winds to keep the dense air aloft. The CREX-2 rocket has an array of instruments designed to measure these effects.

Now that the Sun is more active, NASA is hoping to get their study of the polar cusp underway as soon as possible.

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