the airglow

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Airglow waves. Do you you think our night sky is pitch black ? Have a look at this timelapse video. I captured it at Carnegie Las Campamas observatory. Those red waves are not clouds (!) - this is pretty intense airglow, which takes place in upper atmosphere. It’s very interesting to see how the waves move. While camera pans you will notice on the foreground both 6.5-m Magellan telescopes, as well as nicely setting Milky Way. I hope you’ll enjoy the view ! :) Music: “Airglow” by © Club 220

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Airglow above European Southern Observatory (ESO)

Here are gorgeous fulldome views above different telescopes of ESO’s La Silla Observatory in northern Chile. The red and green hues are produced by airglow, waves of alternating air pressure which are caused by various processes in the upper atmosphere. The Large and Small Magellanic Clouds are also visible while Milky Way cuts across the sky.

Credit: P. Horálek/ESO

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the view from the international space station, some 250 kilometres above earth. travelling at nearly 2900 kilometres an hour, it orbits the earth every ninety minutes. consider that if the earth was the size of a basketball, our atmosphere would be as thick as a sheet of paper. the reds and greens you see illuminating our atmosphere is the result of airglow (though in some of these it’s also the aurora). for more on airglow, see this post.

Black Marble: NASA View Illuminates Earth at Night

When the sun goes down, the lights on Earth shine bright. A new look using our satellite data captures the lights coming from our neighborhoods, vehicles, buildings, factories, fishing vessels and other human activity brightening the night.

Our scientists have just released the first new global map of Earth at night since 2012. This nighttime view of our home planet, dubbed the Black Marble, provides researchers with a unique perspective of human activities around the globe.

By studying Earth at night, researchers can investigate how and why cities expand, monitor light intensity to estimate energy use and economic activity, and aid in disaster response in near-real time.

The data on Earth at night comes from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument on the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite, jointly managed by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

VIIRS captures visible and infrared light, allowing researchers to glimpse the Earth as it looks to astronauts peering out of the International Space Station. The new map is a composite of data collected in 2016, and it took several months of processing to filter out clouds, moonlight, airglow, and other interfering features to create the global image. In the coming months our scientists will release daily nighttime lights data at even finer resolutions for the first time.

The East Coast sparkles with population hubs, suburbs circling cities and major roadways. The I-95 corridor includes the most densely populated region of the United States – the stretch from Washington, DC to Boston.

To get images like these from the satellite data, our scientists had to filter out moonlight, aerosols and other sources of extraneous light – the goal is to eventually be able to detect the lights from a single building or fishing boat.

Daytime satellite images, like this one from Landsat 8, can show us the forests, deserts, mountains, waterways and built-up cities. Add a nighttime view, and scientists can study when and how people are using these limited resources – like the lights tracing the Nile River leading to the metropolis of Cairo, Egypt.

Lights aren’t confined to land. With the global nighttime view, the ocean is dotted with fishing fleets, including boats that try to attract their catch with bright lights.

What lights illuminate your neighborhood? Download a high-resolution version of the Black Marble HERE, and find out more about our new night lights data HERE.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com

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Astronaut Thomas Pesquet shared this video of a thunderstorm over central California taken as the International Space Station flies along the coastline. Watch for the light bursts of satellites after the storm passes - next video will show you where they are if you miss them.

A Gegenschein Lunar Eclipse : Is there anything interesting to see in the direction opposite the Sun? One night last month, there were quite a few things. First, the red-glowing orb on the lower right of the featured image is the full moon, darkened and reddened because it has entered Earths shadow. Beyond Earths cone of darkness are backscattering dust particles orbiting the Sun that standout with a diffuse glow called the gegenschein, visible as a faint band rising from the central horizon and passing behind the Moon. A nearly horizontal stripe of green airglow is also discernable just above the horizon, partly blocked by blowing orange sand. Visible in the distant sky as the blue dot near the top of the image is the star Sirius, while the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy arches up on the image left and down again on the right. The fuzzy light patches just left of center are the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds. Red emission nebulas too numerous to mention are scattered about the sky, but are labelled in a companion annotated image. In the image foreground is the desolate Deadvlei region of the Namib-Naukluft National Park in Namibia, featuring the astrophotographer himself surveying a land and sky so amazing that he described it as one of the top experiences of his life. via NASA

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Astronaut Jack Fischer posted this video taken as the International Space Station flew over the Aurora last week - airglow and multiple aurora colors.

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Twinkle twinkle by Mia Stålnacke

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yuribeletsky Airglow ocean. Majestic view at the colors of the night above Pacific ocean and Atacama desert in Chile. Have a look at this timelapse video. I captured it at Carnegie Las Campamas observatory. The red airglow waves totally dominated the night sky and you can see how they change over the period of few hours. It’s quite remarkable ! Have you seen anything like that ? I hope you’ll enjoy the view ! Music by © Czarek Zieliński. 

Galaxies from the Altiplano : The central bulge of our Milky Way Galaxy rises over the northern Chilean Atacama altiplano in this postcard from planet Earth. At an altitude of 4500 meters, the strange beauty of the desolate landscape could almost belong to another world though. Brownish red and yellow tinted sulfuric patches lie along the whitish salt flat beaches of the Salar de Aguas Calientes region. In the distance along the Argentina border is the stratovolcano Lastarria, its peak at 5700 meters . In the clear, dark sky above, stars, nebulae, and cosmic dust clouds in the Milky Way echo the colors of the altiplano at night. Extending the view across extragalactic space, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, shine near the horizon through a faint greenish airglow. via NASA

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