Video footage shows the strange discovery uncovered by the Suomi NPP satellite of South America and the neighboring ocean. It uses Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) – a device jointly operated by NASA and NAOO – to detect fires.
Thousands of small red circles can be seen dotted around the map, indicating areas that are unusually warm. But there is one huge red mark in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean that puzzled experts.
“Obviously, a fire isn’t burning in the middle of the ocean,” Patricia Oliva, a scientist at Universidad Mayor revealed. So Patricia concluded it was “almost certainly SAMA,” in reference to the South Atlantic Magnetic Anomaly. SAMA is an area where one of Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts comes closer than normal to the Earth’s surface, dropping to an altitude of approximately 200 kilometres. These belts are zones of energetic charged particles originating from the Sun and are captured and held around the planet by its magnetic field. As a result, thermal anomalies can appear on the satellite images.