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Bright Nights

16 November 2023
Astronomy, Environmentalism

At https://spaceweather.com … archive, November 14th 2023. What are bright lights? A phenomenon that has not been seen for some time may have made a comeback – but it took a sky observer filming the night sky to see it. It all happened in dark and rural sky in Colorado. No urban lights to conflict the view of the stars. On the night of October 9th, and although there was no moon or any other kind of light, being out in the sticks, the landscape was softly illuminated. The night sky itself glowed. The observer, and his partner, photographed the sky – pointing the lens at the stars. It turned out to be a strong green airglow. This seems to conform to a hypothesis by Gordon Shepherd, a professor at York University in Canada, who suggested bright nights were caused by intense episodes of air  glow.

Air glow is produced by photo chemistry in Earth’s upper atmosphere. The green colour having an origin in atoms of oxygen. It has been frequently photographed from the International Space Station, for example. They are closely connected with high altitude zonal waves which have, in turn, a connection of some kind with Earth’s jet streams. Zonal waves create high pressure regions hundreds to thousands of miles wide. They force oxygen atoms into a dense and higher concentration. At the moment, high solar activity is also boosting air glow – aiding and abetting the zonal waves.

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