|Wednesday, 28 February 2024
The Hellenic Radio (ERA): News in English, 05-01-24
From: The Hellenic Radio (ERA) <www.ert.gr/>
 Belgium Cancels EU Referendum24 Jan 2005 10:49:00
By Tina Valaoura
In the fear that the Flemish far right would use the referendum on the European Constitution as a jump start to spark off their campaign against Turkish accession to the European Union, the Belgian social democrat party decided to withdraw its support from government plans. This development has deprived the government coalition of the necessary majority to approve the proposal to hold a referendum on the Constitution of the European Union. The party in government, the Liberals under Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, expressed his disappointment with the decision.
Translated by Millie Williams
 Mystery Video Before the Shuttle's Breaking Apart What Did the Columbia See?24 Jan 2005 19:23:00
By Vagelis Theodorou
Sources: New Scientist
The space shuttle Columbia recorded a short mysterious glow, 150 km above the Indian Ocean, as it emerges from an analysis of the video. The video in doubt was broadcast live by NASA, during Columbias 16-day mission, which ended with its breaking apart during its re-entrance in the atmosphere, on February 1, 2003. The data was published months later and still constitutes an analysis subject. According to New Scientist, the space shuttle recorded the mysterious glow and at the same time a kind of lightning above Cyprus, which theoretically began as a magnetic course which ends in Madagascar. But the thunder transported cargo towards the earth and not towards the atmosphere. "I am not sure what we saw. I only know it wasnt something we were used to seeing," commented Yoav Yair from the research program MEIDEX (Mediterranean Israeli Dust Experiment).
The mysterious phenomenon was named TIGER (Transient Ionospheric Glow Emission in Red).
Mr Yair, who carefully analyzed for over a year the only frame of the video, representing 33 milliseconds, saw a red glow appearing and disappearing instantly above Madagascar on January 20, 2003, while at the same time a type of lightning above Cyprus was recorded. Based on the above finding, the scientists are investigating if the glow recorded above Cyprus caused the phenomenon above Madagascar or if they are connected in another way.
The scientists, in the past, have recorded glows at these heights which were caused by thunderstorms and differ from this new phenomenon. These are sprites of elves, which are two types of lighting in a shape of a medusa or donut which start at the clouds, at a height of ten km and rise upwards, in the higher layers of atmosphere.
But these two phenomena always appear in a horizontal position of 70 km at the most, from the usual lightning, few milliseconds after their manifestation. As opposed to TIGER which appeared 800 km from the nearest lightning, and was recorded by Columbia 250 milliseconds later. As the scientists evaluate, the mysterious phenomenon is not related to lightning.
Thus, the TIGER remains for the time being inexplicable, while scientists foresee that the continuous observation from satellites and the International Space Station will reveal more atmospheric species in the future.
Translated by Eirene Nisiriou