The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) often gives the residents of Earth a peek of outer space and recently it captured two atmospheric phenomena, aurora and airglow, together in a stunning photograph.
In a post on its official social media account, NASA shared the picture on World Photography Day clicked by an astronaut on the International Space Station, showing the moment when aurora met airglow above the Earth before dawn on March 16.
Captioned “Aurora, meet airglow,” the post also explained the phenomena. “Wavy green, red-topped wisps of aurora borealis appear to intersect the muted red-yellow band of airglow as the station passed just south of the Alaskan Peninsula. The rising Sun, behind Earth’s limb at the time of this photo, adds a deep blue to the horizon. Light from cities in British Columbia and Alberta, Canada, joins starlight to dot the early morning skyscape.”
NASA also explained that though they appear similar, aurora and airglow are formed by different processes. “Airglow is the emission of light from chemical interactions between oxygen, nitrogen, and other molecules in the upper atmosphere. Auroras, on the other hand, stem from interactions between solar energy and Earth’s magnetic field,” the space agency said.
Since being shared online, the post has been flooded with people responding to the viral picture.
I’m happy that I can call this planet my home. My condolences to all aliens out there.
— kimarima🇫🇷 (@kimarima4) August 19, 2020
Earth is and will be a wonderful planet
— Roberta (@Roberta39521670) August 19, 2020
Beautiful show of lights! Awesome
— Maria Steuer (@maria_steuer) August 19, 2020
— Ghetto Interpreter (@hoodInterpreter) August 19, 2020
This looks so interesting 😃😍
— Vaishnavi (@_Vaishnavi_29) August 19, 2020