Image Credit & Copyright: Jeff Dai
Why would the sky look like a giant target? Airglow. Following a giant thunderstorm over Bangladesh in late April, giant circular ripples of glowing air appeared over Tibet, China, as pictured above. The unusual pattern is created by atmospheric gravity waves, waves of alternating air pressure that can grow with height as the air thins, in this case about 90 kilometers up. Unlike auroras powered by collisions with energetic charged particles and seen at high latitudes, airglow is due to chemiluminescence, the production of light in a chemical reaction. More typically seen near the horizon, airglow keeps the night sky from ever being completely dark.
APOD NASA 01-Sep-14
Image Credit & Copyright: Babak Tafreshi (TWAN)
An alluring night skyscape, this scene looks west across the Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA, Planet Earth. The Snake River glides through the foreground, while above the Tetons’ rugged mountain peaks the starry sky is laced with exceptionally strong red and green airglow. That night, the luminous atmospheric glow was just faintly visible to the eye, its color and wavey structure captured only by a sensitive digital camera. In fact, this contemporary digital photograph matches the location and perspective of a well-known photograph from 1942 – The Tetons and The Snake River , by Ansel Adams, renown photographer of the American West. Adams’ image is one of 115 images stored on the Voyager Golden Record. Humanity’s message in a bottle, golden records were on board both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft, launched in 1977 and now headed toward interstellar space.
APOD NASA 01-Aug-2014