Airglow, Andromeda Galaxy and Cassiopeia

August 05, 2013

AndromedaAirGlow-Pano1785-net (2)

Photographer: Miguel Claro; Miguel's Web-site;
Summary Author: Miguel Claro; Miguel's Facbook Page

August 2013 Viewer's Choice This serene view showing the night sky near Lake Alqueva, Portugal, in the Alqueva Dark Sky Reserve, was captured on in June 15, 2013. Cassiopeia is at the left top corner of the image directly above the double cluster NGC 884 and NGC 869. The Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31) is visible at top center and at right is the constellation of Pegasus with its familiar "square" asterism. Click here to see an annotated version.

The strong chartreuse glow above the lake is airglow. This light results from atmospheric chemiluminescence -- emission from sodium atoms in a layer approximately 57 mi (92 km) above the Earth's surface. Just above this yellowish light, greenish light from oxygen atoms can be detected in a layer about 55-62 mi (90-100 km) above the surface. This emission layer is clearly visible from Earth orbit on nighttime visible satellite imagery. However, neither the green nor yellow emissions can be seen with the naked eye.

Photo details: Canon 60Da camera; ISO 1600; 35mm lens at f/2; 15 sec. exposure; mosaic of 7 images; taken at 03:45 a.m. local time.