An astronaut records the “red dwarf” above Earth

An astronaut records the “red dwarf” above Earth

A truly stunning image was captured by European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Andreas Mogensen last week. Record A is shown Red goblinWhich in literal translation means “red dwarf” – an unusual type of electrical discharge rarely seen on Earth.

The Dane explained on his Instagram profile that taking the photo is part of the experience Thor Davis. For this study, Mogensen heads to the dome observatory module of the International Space Station (ISS) every Saturday to try to photograph storms from above.

In the first image released by the experiment, which aims to study severe storms from a more relevant point of view, as well as atmospheric phenomena at high altitudes, a Transient Light Event (TLE) is seen at an altitude of 40 to 80 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. .

TLEs, also called Red goblinsThey have been reported by pilots for decades, but were only recorded for the first time in July 1989. These events can rarely be observed from the surface – and that’s probably for the better, given the image they create of an invading alien force.

Like traditional lightning, red elves arrive after electrical charges build up within clouds. However, degassing occurs in the Earth’s mesosphere up to 80 km above the surface. The lush red color is formed when the charge collides with nitrogen in the planet’s atmosphere.

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How did the European astronaut photograph the red dwarf?

According to the European Space Agency, Mogensen captured the phenomenon using an “event camera,” which works more like the human eye than a regular camera, detecting changes in contrast rather than taking a photo.

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One of the advantages of these cameras is that they can produce about 100,000 images per second, and require very little energy to do so. “These images taken by Andreas are amazing,” Olivier Chanrion, the lead scientist for this experiment, said in a statement. statement From the European Space Agency. “The Davis camera works well and gives us the high temporal resolution needed to capture fast processes in lightning.”

Thor-Davis’s research is dedicated to studying lightning in the upper atmosphere and its potential effect on changing the concentration of greenhouse gases. This study builds on a previous experiment conducted by Thor on the Andreas I mission in 2015, during which images were recorded of a strange atmospheric phenomenon: a blue jet, a variant of an atmospheric electrical discharge heading into space.

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