Surfer-shaped waves found in near-Earth space

The universe overflows with repeating patterns. From the smallest cells to the largest galaxies, scientists are often rewarded by observing similar patterns in vastly different places. One such pattern is the iconic surfer’s waves seen on the ocean – a series of curled hills moving steadily in one direction. The shape has a simple cause. A fast fluid, say wind, moving past a slower one, say water, naturally creates this classic shape. Named Kelvin-Helmholtz waves in the late 1800s after their discoverers, these waves have since been discovered all over the universe: in clouds, in the atmospheres of other planets, and on the sun. Now two recently published articles highlight these shapely waves at the boundaries of near-Earth space. —> Read More