File:Nighttime Sky Illuminated by a Mix of Light from Auroras (24352699796).jpg

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December 14, 2015

Nighttime Sky Illuminated by a Mix of Light from Auroras Although the dark-adjusted human eye can just barely begin to see it, research conducted by the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) shows that the nighttime sky is illuminated by a mix of light coming from auroras, starlight, zodiacal light (sunlight that is being scattered across the solar system by dust particles in space), anthropogenic light and a variety of other sources. While humans only see a fraction of this nightglow, mostly needing moonlight to see clearly, the Day/Night Band on the Suomi NPP satellite’s VIIRS instrument can see incredible meteorological features using these visible-light sources, regardless of the presence of moonlight.

This image shows the reflection of nightglow, not moonlight, illuminating clouds associated with this weekend's intense low pressure storm over the Bering Sea. The bright streak across the northern portion is the visible aurora caused by recent G1 (minor) geomagnetic storming on the sun.

Credit: CIRA

Source Nighttime Sky Illuminated by a Mix of Light from Auroras
Author NOAA Satellites


Public domain
This image is in the public domain because it contains materials that originally came from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, taken or made as part of an employee's official duties.

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Checked copyright icon.svg This image was originally posted to Flickr by NOAASatellites at It was reviewed on by FlickreviewR 2 and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the Public Domain Mark.

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