This bizarre Orange Glow is Actually Known as Airglow

Instagram filter or alien planet? This bizarre orange glow is actually known as airglow, courtesy of NASA.

As per NASA, the airglow is thin bands of light that span 50 to 400 miles into our atmosphere. It usually happens when molecules, mostly nitrogen and oxygen, are energized by ultraviolet radiation from sunlight.

From there, the atoms in the lower atmosphere collide with each other and lose energy in the crash. The result is colourful airglow, as NASA wrote on their website.

Furthermore, this particular airglow is orange. However, others have been rainbow-coloured, according to

The image was taken by an astronaut onboard the International Space Station on Oct. 7, while orbiting over 250 miles above Australia, explained NASA.

Although it can be seen in any light, it’s best seen during the nighttime, because it’s 1 billion times fainter than sunlight, as reported in a 2012 article from NASA. In the article, NASA outlined that this chemiluminescence is similar to the chemical reactions that light up a glow stick or glow-in-the-dark silly putty.

The naturally occurring phenomena enables scientists to understand how particles move near the interface of Earth and space, including the connections between space weather and Earth weather, said NASA on Tuesday.

To study this NASA uses satellites such as the Ionospheric Connection Explorer satellite, which will help scientists learn more about the physical processes at work where Earth’s atmosphere interacts with near-Earth space.


Image Credit: NASA Images / Shutterstock


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