Sunday , October 17 2021

Airglow makes the Earth look different – Quartz

In October, an astronaut at the International Space Station took a picture of what looks like a different world, shining with yellow and orange. But this picture, taken from 250 miles above Australia, is just Earth with a strange shade because of the atmospheric phenomenon called the air stream.

You can remind from high school that the earth's atmosphere is a layer of gases surrounding the planet, protecting us from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. When UV rays hit the lower atmosphere of the Earth, they stimulate particles in the air, and this energy is released as light.

Although there is usually some airflow in the atmosphere, it is not always visible, and the color spectrum varies depending on the atoms in different layers of the atmosphere. In the ISS picture, the light of air appears yellow and orange, but the interwoven vision from Earth usually appears red and green.

NASA is studying the flow of air to better understand how our atmosphere works. Because the atmosphere is a buffer between Earth and space, its exploration can help scientists better understand the relationship between weather on Earth and in space. To this end, NASA plans to launch a new satellite called Ionspheric Connection Explorer (ICON); the launch was originally scheduled for today (November 7), but has been postponed due to a missile defect. Once launched, it monitors the Earth's atmosphere from its orbit around 360 miles above the ground.

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