The universe can leave the viewers completely mesmerized with its beauty at times with some of the most unexpected outcomes. One of such incidents happened recently when two of Earth’s most colorful upper atmospheric phenomena met each other. An astronaut at the International Space Station (ISS) has recently captured the meeting of aurora and airglow just before dawn.
For those who are unaware, aurora and airglow are two completely different phenomena. The nighttime airglow, also known as nightglow, is emission caused due to chemical reactions between oxygen, nitrogen, and other molecules present in the upper atmosphere of the Earth. So, by virtue of it, airglow is present all around the Earth at any given time. While it is easier to spot nightglow, finding dayglow is a slightly difficult and rare event.
On the other hand, auroras are a reaction of chemical interactions between the solar energy and Earth’s magnetic field. Since the magnetic field also funnels the energy into the upper atmosphere, both aurora and airglow appear to be similar at times. However, the only way to differentiate them is the fact that aurora keeps changing directions due to the dynamic nature of Earth’s magnetic field.
In the captured picture, one can spot wavy green wisps of aurora borealis colliding with muted red-yellow bands of airglow. The picture seems to be a little south of the Alaskan Peninsula. One can also spot rising Sun in the background, adding a tinge of deep blue to the horizon.