An astronaut photographed bizarre blue drops in the Earth’s atmosphere

(ORDO NEWS) — While on the International Space Station (ISS), an astronaut took an unusual photo of the Earth, which shows two bizarre blue spots of light. The dazzling couple look strange and even mystical. What is it?

Surprisingly, the astronaut was able to capture two unrelated natural phenomena that just happened to happen at the same time.

The picture was taken in 2021 by an unnamed Expedition 66 crew member as the ISS passed over the South China Sea. But NASA only released the photo in October 2022.

An astronaut photographed bizarre blue drops in the Earths atmosphere 2

The first blob of light visible at the bottom of the image is a powerful lightning strike somewhere in the Gulf of Thailand.

Lightning strikes are generally difficult to see from the ISS, as they are usually obscured by clouds.

But this particular strike occurred near a large tear at the top of the clouds, which caused the lightning to illuminate the surrounding “walls” of the cloud structure, creating a striking glowing ring.

An astronaut photographed bizarre blue drops in the Earths atmosphere 3

The second blue blob (in the upper right corner of the image) is the result of distorted light from the moon.

The orientation of Earth’s natural satellite with respect to the ISS means that the light it reflects from the sun travels straight through the planet’s atmosphere, turning it into a bright blue blob with a fuzzy halo.

According to the Earth Observatory, this effect is caused by some of the moon’s light being scattered by tiny particles in the Earth’s atmosphere.

What else can be seen in the photo?

The photo also shows a glowing web of artificial lighting from Thailand. Other notable sources of light pollution in the image come from Vietnam and Hainan Island.

According to the Earth Observatory, the orange halo, parallel to the bow of the Earth, is the edge of the atmosphere, commonly referred to as the “limb of the Earth.”


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