Recently we've featured some really amazing images of Earth taken from the International Space Station (ISS).
At 225 miles up, astronauts aboard the ISS enjoy an unprecedented and privileged view of our world, literally from the edge of space. In addition to having a vantage point from which to view the countries, continents and oceans below, they also get to observe amazing atmospheric phenomena from a unique viewpoint that few humans have ever experienced.
From lightning flashing strobe-like within storm clouds to the undulating ribbons of the aurorae, the ISS crew sees it all from above –- and shares with us in the photos they take.
One phenomenon that's not so visible from Earth's surface but shows up regularly in astronaut images is a glowing hazy band known as airglow.
A photochemical reaction that occurs high in the atmosphere, airglow is created by atoms, molecules and ions that have been excited by ultraviolet radiation from the sun. They release that energy as visible - as well as infrared and ultraviolet - light when they return to their normal state... not entirely unlike glow-in-the-dark toys or paint!