There are many strange things in the sky that can make it glow in unbelievably beautiful colours, but it is extremely rare to see two completely different natural phenomena at the same time.
NASA astronauts from the International Space Station (ISS) have managed to capture two atmospheric phenomena – aurora borealis (or northern lights) and airglow (or skyglow), in one photo.
The photo, which was shared on Instagram, was taken by the astronauts in March, while the ISS was moving over Alaska. The footage features two bright lines of light, occurring simultaneously at the same heights, but due to different reactions, as they are not linked to each other.
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Aurora, meet airglow 🤩 Two of Earth’s most colorful upper atmospheric phenomena, aurora and airglow, met just before dawn in this March 16 photo shot by an astronaut on the International Space Station (@iss). 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. Though they appear at similar altitudes, aurora and airglow are produced by different physical 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. Credit: NASA Caption: Alex Stoken, @nasajohnson #airglow #aurora #earthatnight #nasa #atmosphere