Space agency NASA routinely captures stunning images of our universe, leaving space lovers mesmerized. Recently, NASA took to Instagram to share a picture taken from the International Space Station showing the Earth’s airglow outlining the planet’s horizon with the Moon above. The image was captured on November 14, 2023, from the International Space Station as it orbited 260 miles (418 km) above the midwestern United States.
Describing the image, NASA wrote, ”A view of Earth from the space station during orbital night. The Moon is above earth nearly centered above the surface. An airglow outlines the atmosphere above the Earth’s surface in a yellow shade. Lights from cities dot Earth’s surface – among them, a concentration of lights near the horizon identifies the city of Chicago, while the concentration of lights closer to the bottom left identifies Denver.”
See the image here:
As per NASA, Airglow is when atoms and molecules in the upper atmosphere, excited by sunlight, emit light in order to shed their excess energy. NASA further explained that though they appear similar, aurora and airglow are formed by different processes. Auroras are driven by high-energy particles originating from the solar wind and airglow is sparked by day-to-day solar radiation.
”Studying airflow gives us a peek into the upper atmosphere’s temperature, density, and composition, but it also helps us trace how particles move through the region itself. Vast, high-altitude winds sweep through the ionosphere, pushing its contents around the globe — and airglow’s subtle dance follows their lead, highlighting global patterns,” NASA wrote.
Since being shared two days back, the image has garnered more than 7.8 lakh likes and several comments. While some users called the image “amazing,” others called it “beautiful”. One user said, ”It feels like being at a movie.”
Another commented, ”This photo is so beautiful.”
A few days back, NASA shared an incredible picture of an aurora captured from the International Space Station. According to the caption, the dazzling green aurora swept through the skies above Utah, US, on Sunday night, creating a brilliant halo above our planet.