An Astronaut Captures Magnificent Earth’s Airglow Scene From Space

Numerous glowing phenomena can be produced by the interaction of charged particles, molecules in the environment, and light from the Sun. The Northern and Southern Lights are the most well-known. They are not the only ones who put up a show, but they really do. Although airglow is a more subtle phenomena, it is best viewed from space. It is possible to detect it from the ground.

Astronaut Andreas Mogensen captured a picture of the atmosphere that shows two airglows. The red glow is produced by oxygen and, to a lesser extent, hydroxyl (oxygen plus a hydrogen molecule), which is present even higher in the atmosphere. The yellow glow is formed by sodium particles in the environment.

The interaction of light with the molecules or atoms is what causes this feeble luminescence in the upper atmosphere. Over the course of the day, sunlight energises molecules, splitting them apart or activating the electrons within their atoms. The energy is subsequently dissipated during the next few hours as a result of molecular collisions. This particular colour of energy emission gives rise to the features of airglow that are visible here.

Airglow can arise as long as there are atoms and molecules to excite. NASA claims that it can stretch nearly twice as far, even though the majority of it originates from a relatively restricted zone between 50 and 300 kilometres (31 to 180 miles). In addition to being a beautiful sight, it can also be very helpful in understanding the distribution and mobility of the very rarefied layers in the uppermost regions of the atmosphere.

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