What are these blue blobs doing in Earth’s atmosphere?
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Astronauts aboard the ISS recently took a bizarre image of Earth, showing two separate blobs of blue glowing in the planet’s atmosphere.
Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have captured a unique image of the Earth from space. This image includes two strange blobs of blue light of his flickering in the Earth’s atmosphere. Dazzling couples may seem otherworldly. But in reality they are the result of two independent natural phenomena that happen to occur simultaneously.
The first flare seen in the image below is a massive lightning strike somewhere in the Gulf of Thailand. Lightning strikes are usually obscured by clouds, making them difficult to see from the ISS. But this particular collision occurred near a large, cloud-covered circular gap, and the flash illuminated the surrounding walls of the cloud-covered caldera-like structure, creating a striking glowing ring. did. The second blue blob visible in the upper right of the image is the result of distorted moonlight. The alignment of Earth’s natural satellite with the ISS means that light reflected from the Sun travels straight through the planet’s atmosphere, turning it into a pale blue blob with a vague halo. According to the Earth Observatory, this effect is caused by some of the moonlight being scattered by small particles in the Earth’s atmosphere.
They have different wavelengths and influence how they interact with particles in the atmosphere. Blue light has the shortest wavelength and is therefore the most scattered, making the Moon blue in this image. The same effect also explains why the sky appears blue during the day. According to NASA, the blue wavelengths of sunlight are the most scattered and visible to the human eye.
Also visible in the photo is a glowing web of artificial light from Thailand. The image’s other prominent sources of light pollution (opens in new tab) are in Vietnam and China’s southernmost island of Hainan, but these sources are mostly obscured by clouds. According to the Earth Observatory, the orange halos parallel to the Earth’s curvature are the edges of the atmosphere, commonly known as the “edges of the Earth” when viewed from space.
Originally published in Live Science.