Mercury Has Magnetic Whirlpools That Rain Solar Plasma; Space Is Rough, Man.

You think acid rain is rough around these parts, you hippie? Mercury is dealing with way more serious shit than that. Try solar plasma raining down across the miserable ass planet. Try that!

New Scientist:

To the list of scary things in space you can now add giant magnetic vortices. Huge swirls at the edge of Mercury’s magnetosphere — where the planet’smagnetic field  meets the energetic charged particles of the  solar wind  — help shower the planet in solar plasma.

Kelvin-Helmholtz waves occur at the boundary between two fluids, such as two different bodies of air in Earth’s atmosphere. They are most visible on Earth in the form of strange  wave-like clouds.

KH waves also occur in the magnetospheres of some planets, and NASA’s Messenger spacecraft found them around Mercury.

A new study of Messenger’s data suggests the waves are larger than thought — two to three times the size of their terrestrial counterparts — and occur 10 to 30 times more frequently too.

Messenger also detected solar plasma in Mercury’s magnetosphere linked to the KH waves, suggesting the large waves shuttle plasma towards the planet.

“KH waves are more important for mass and energy transfer than we imagined,” says  Torbjörn Sundberg  at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

It’s worth noting that this news story is doubly amazing because there is mention of someone named  Torbjörn Sundberg within. You can’t fuck with a scientist named  Torbjörn Sundberg.