World Photography Day 2020: Aurora meets Airglow in NASA’s spectacular throwback image

Sky watchers and space enthusiasts were pampered by the National Aviation and Space Agency on World Photography Day when the US space agency showed a spectacular flashback image of the Aurora encountering an aerial glow over the earth before dawn. It was taken on March 16, 2020 by a member of the Expedition 62 crew using a Nikon D5 digital camera with a 50 millimeter lens.

The camera and lens to capture the view were provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Johnson Space Center’s Geosciences and Remote Sensing Department. NASA shared the breathtaking view of their social media handle, explaining in the headline: “Aurora, Air Light Meet Two of the most colorful phenomena of the atmosphere’s upper atmosphere, aurora and air glow, met just before dawn in this photo, which is an astronaut at the International on March 16, Space Station (@iss) ”sic.

The picture shows a blanket of green, maroon and yellow lights enveloping the lights of the city on the earth below. NASA added, “Wavy red-tipped green streaks from Aurora Borealis appear to cut the muted red-and-yellow band of air glow as the station passed south of the Alaskan Peninsula. The rising sun, which was behind the limbs of the earth at the time of this photo, adds a deep blue to the horizon. Light from cities in British Columbia and Alberta, Canada, meets starlight to shape the early morning skyscape. “

According to the space agency, Aurora and Airglow are created by different physical processes, although they occur at similar altitudes. NASA helped Internet users differentiate between the two phenomena, emphasizing: “Night air (or night glow) is a type of chemiluminescence – the emission of light from chemical interactions between oxygen, nitrogen and other molecules in the upper atmosphere. Air glow occurs all over the world all the time. However, “night light” is much easier to see on a dark earth than “day light” because the glow of the air is only one billionth as bright as the sun. Aurors, on the other hand, are created by interactions between solar energy and the earth’s magnetic field. The magnetic field directs the energy into the upper atmosphere, where it interacts with the same atoms as air glow (mainly oxygen and nitrogen). Therefore, both phenomena can produce similar colors. The dynamic nature of the Earth’s magnetic field moves solar energy in an irregular manner, making each aurora event visually unique. ”

The theme of World Photography Day 2020 is “Pandemic lock through the lens”. The NASA image was a perfect breather to put aside our midweek blues

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