Astronaut snaps stunning image of two bizarre blobs of blue light

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) has snapped a phenomenal image of a lightning storm and gorgeous moonlight.

Astronaut snaps stunning image of two bizarre blobs of blue light
Published Oct 20, 2022 1:37 AM CDT   |   Updated Mon, Nov 7 2022 7:38 PM CST
1 minute & 40 seconds read time

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) has snapped a phenomenal image of two blue blobs of light hovering in Earth's atmosphere.

Astronaut snaps stunning image of two bizarre blobs of blue light 56

The International Space Station (ISS) orbits Earth at an altitude of approximately 250 miles, giving the astronauts aboard the floating laboratory a fantastic vantage point to view Earth from. While passing over Southeast Asia, approximately near the Vietnamese coast and Thailand, an ISS astronaut snapped an image that showcases two unrelated natural phenomena happening to occur at the same time.

The blob of blue light seen at the bottom of the photograph is a very large lightning strike that happened over the Gulf of Thailand. Seeing lightning strikes happen from 250 miles up is typically quite difficult, but this lightning strike seemed to have occurred within a gap in the clouds that were also located fairly high up. The strike itself illuminated the clouds, which created the incredible blue color that is seen in the image.

Lightning glow.

Lightning glow.

The second blue blob that is seen on the right-hand side of the image is warped Moonlight. The light that is being reflected off the surface of the Moon through Earth's atmosphere in relation to the viewing angle of the ISS creates the bright blue blob of light that is seen in the image.

The Moonlight passing through Earth's atmosphere causes it to scatter, and since blue light has the shortest wavelength, meaning it's the most likely to scatter when passing through Earth's atmosphere, the resulting image is a blue blob glowing. The very same principle can be applied to answer the common question, "why is the sky blue?". A simple answer would be that when the light from the Sun passes through Earth's atmosphere, it's scattered, with blue wavelengths of light being scattered the most, which produces the blue color humans see.

In other science news, famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has explained NASA's recent Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) and the benefits of such a mission. Additionally, deGrasse Tyson explained the implications of the mission's success and what that means for Earth's protection in the future. For more information on that story, check out the below link.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science and space news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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