‘Dance’ of Earth’s airglow is simply mesmerizing! Just check out this NASA image from ISS

NASA continues to amaze space enthusiasts with mesmerizing images of our universe from its various crafts in space. There is the James Webb Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope and then there is even the International Space Station where humans are busy at work conducting their studies. From the Moon to Mars and stars to galaxies, NASA’s advanced technologies have made it possible to visualize space in real-time. Now, NASA has shared yet another stunning image. NASA shared a breathtaking snapshot of Earth’s airglow on Instagram that was taken from the International Space Station (ISS).

This image was captured on November 14, 2023, when it was orbiting above the United States. The image showcases the Earth’s airglow outlining the planet’s horizon, with the Moon positioned above.

NASA wrote on Instagram, “Earth’s airglow outlines the planet’s horizon with the Moon above in this photograph captured on Nov. 14, 2023, from the International Space Station as it orbited 260 miles (418 km) above the midwestern United States. At the lower right, the city lights of Denver and its suburbs shine. The bright lights of Chicago are in the background.⁣”

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What is Earth’s Airglow?

According to NASA, when atoms and molecules in the upper atmosphere are excited by sunlight and emit light in order to shed their excess energy, this phenomenon is airglow. It is similar to auroras. The only difference is that auroras are driven by high-energy particles originating from the solar wind, but airglow is sparked by day-to-day solar radiation. As the post mentions, studying airglow gives scientists a better understanding upper atmosphere’s temperature, density, and composition. It also helps scientists trace how particles move through the region itself. NASA further writes, “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.⁣”

Unsurprisingly, the image has garnered immense attention on Instagram. The image has over 8.1 lakh likes and has collected numerous comments.

The accompanying caption from NASA describes the scene: “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.”

These continuous efforts of NASA to capture the beauties of space keep space enthusiasts excited and curious about our universe.

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