The aurora borealis and moonlit shine brightly in this astronaut photo of the Alaskan island chain.
An astronaut on board International Space Station (ISS) captured this stunning photo of the Aleutian Islands off the Alaskan mainland. The archipelago is illuminated by moonglint – a sunglint-like phenomenon that occurs only when the moon’s light reflects off the water at a certain angle. Moongliding is rare in astronaut photography, making this image even more special.
Formation of the Aleutians
Although some archipelagos are formed by processes such as erosion and sea level rise, most island chains, including the Aleutians, are the result of volcanic eruptions. Covering an area of about 6,800 square miles (17,611 square kilometers), the islands curve southwest and then northwest about 1,100 miles (1,800 kilometers) from the Alaskan Peninsula to Attu Island (not pictured). The Aleutian chain forms the boundary between the main Pacific Ocean to the south and the Bering Sea to the north.
Northern Lights in sight
A green light high in Earth’s atmosphere is clearly visible in the image. This event is called Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights. Massive bursts of energy from the Sun, such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections, can travel rapidly through space and sometimes affect Earth’s magnetic field. The interaction between the magnetic field and solar radiation causes the color display shown in Fig. Auroras appear in different colors, from green and yellow to shades of purple and red. Auroras can also occur in the Southern Hemisphere, where they are known as aurora australis (southern lights).
Astronaut photo ISS067-E-363431 was taken on September 17, 2022 with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 28 millimeters. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observation Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The picture was taken by a member of the Expedition 67 crew. The image was cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts were removed. The International Space Station program supports the lab as part of the ISS National Observatory, which enables astronauts to take images of Earth that are valuable to scientists and the public, and makes those images freely available on the Internet. Minna Adel Rubio, Geo Control Systems, JETS Contract Title NASA– JSC
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