What are the mysterious blue spots that were captured by an astronaut in the Earth’s atmosphere?

On October 30, 2021, an anonymous member of the crew of the Expedition 66who was on board the International Space Station (ISS) took a picture while orbiting over Southeast Asia and looking down at “Earth’s limbo.”

The NASA Earth Observatory shared on October 9 of this year the image that caused great interest, because there were two blue spots peculiar glowing in the atmosphere of planet Earth.

This manifestation had not been visualized before, and although it may seem paranormal, it is the result of two unrelated natural phenomena that happened at the same time by coincidence.

It is lightning and the result of distorted light from the Moon. According to annotations of the Earth Observatory in the Potthe image captures areas of China, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos, as well as the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea.

The first spot of light seen at the bottom and corresponding to the Gulf of Thailand, it is given by a massive lightning strike. In general, thunderstorms are often difficult to capture from the ISS because they are covered with clouds. However, on this occasion, a series of coincidences allowed it to happen.

As the specialists explained, this particular ray was visible because it occurred next to a large circular hole in the cloudswhich caused the outline of the cloud to light up, creating the striking bluish ring of light seen in the photograph.

Astronaut photograph of the two spots of light on October 30, 2021. Photo: NASA Earth Observatory.

The second blue spot, which is displayed in the upper right part of the image and which corresponds to the South China Sea, is related to our natural satellite: Moon. According to the Earth Observatory, the orientation of the satellite relative to the ISS caused the distortion of the Moon’s lighta little-known visual phenomenon.

The experts explained that the light of the Moon that reflected from the Sun passed directly through Earth’s atmosphere, becoming a bright blue spot with a diffuse halo. This effect is produced by a fragment of lunar light, which is scattered in tiny particles in the Earth’s atmosphere, according to researchers at NASA’s Earth Observatory.

Astronaut photograph of the two spots of light on October 30, 2021. Photo: NASA Earth Observatory.

Different colors of visible light have different wavelengths, which can affect their interaction with atmospheric particles. Blue light has a shorter wavelength, and is more likely to be scattered, causing the moon to turn blue in the image.

The Pot he explained that the same effect occurs with blue skies in the daytime as the blue wavelengths of sunlight are scattered further and become more visible to the human eye.

Other details of the image are the intense network of artificial lights in the lower left, which corresponds to Thailand, and in the background of the photo the circular shape of the island of Hainan, the southernmost region of China. other sources of Light pollution They come from Vietnam, which is next to Thailand.

While, the orange halo parallel to the curvature of the Earth is the edge of the atmosphere, also known as “the limb of the Earth” due to the characteristics it presents when observed from space, according to the Earth Observatory.

Although it may seem impressive, it is not the first time that space has given us surprising manifestations. Although it is still interesting that this phenomenon occurred at the same time by mere coincidence.