An astronaut takes pictures of a strange phenomenon on Earth – DW – 08/12/2023

Among the many wonderful phenomena that can be observed on Earth, there are some that are exceptionally rare. One of these unique phenomena is ghost Or the red spectrum, which are large-scale electrical discharge events that shoot upward from cloud tops in the Earth’s mesosphere, at an approximate height of 50-90 km.

Since it was first described at the end of the 19th century, nearly a century passed until the first image of this phenomenon was taken in 1989. Since then, sightings have become rare. Now, European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Andreas Mogensen has captured a new image of a planet ghost Red as part of the Thor-Davis experiment.

Mogensen dedicated every Saturday to photographing storms from the International Space Station’s (ISS) Coppola Observatory, as part of the experiment, and produced the project’s first image, showing the red spectrum at an altitude of 40 to 80 kilometers above Earth. This exceptional capture provides valuable knowledge about these phenomena and their potential impact on the upper atmosphere.

Sprite or red spectrum

despite of Goblins Red rays are observed above cloud tops, and are thought to originate from ordinary lightning, after electrical charges build up within clouds, near the Earth’s surface, and act as a “balancing mechanism” used by the atmosphere to distribute vertical electrical charges. . The red color is produced when the charge meets atmospheric nitrogen.

“Beyond the clouds is a wonderful world. What you see here is a picture of ghost “Red on a thundercloud I captured as part of the Thor-Davis experiment conducted by the Danish Technical University (DTUSspace),” Mogensen wrote in the caption of the post in which he shared the photos.

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The Danish astronaut used an “event camera” to take the photo ghost, which works more like the human eye than a traditional camera, detecting contrast changes rather than taking a still image. These cameras are characterized by producing up to 100,000 images per second with low power consumption. According to a statement by the European Space Agency.

The study not only contributes to the understanding of red sprites, but also seeks to understand how lightning in the upper atmosphere affects the concentration of greenhouse gases.

The experiment’s lead scientist, Olivier Chanrayon, praised Mogensen’s images, highlighting the high temporal resolution they provide for capturing fast lightning processes. “These images taken by Andreas are amazing,” Chanrion told the European Space Agency.

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