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Airglow Ripples over Tibet

By: Jeff Dai

 

Region: Asia

Site: Tibet - China

Spot: Shigatse

Date: 2014 April 27

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Seen on Astronomy Picture of the Day. Why would the sky look like a giant target? The atmospheric Gravity Waves revealed by a thin layer of glowing atmosphere called airglow is captured from the Tibetan Plateau. The orange colors come from excited hydroxyl radicals, and the green colors from oxygen light emissions. In the foreground are the Himalayas, and astronomy photographers capturing the night sky.
As added by the photographer:Its very lucky that the scene was also recorded from space, by Day/Night Band (DNB) on the NOAA/NASA Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership environmental satellite." Click the constellation icon above the image to see airglow bands from space. This is a rare comparison record of this phenomenon both on the ground and space.
The image is also published as the cover photo of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Jeff Dai

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