NASA Photo From Space Station Shows Orange Earth 'Airglow' Horizon

The astronauts aboard the International Space Station always have a good view of Earth but occasionally they see something more extraordinary and capture it to send back to those down below.

Wednesday one of the astronauts on board captured a photo of bright orange light hovering over and covering the horizon line of the Earth. The orange hue is referred to as an airglow, according to NASA, and its diffused light in the atmosphere.

Airglows happen when the molecules in the atmosphere are energized by the sunlight and the ultraviolet radiation the sun gives off. When the atoms gain the radiation they move more quickly and released their energy in the form of light when they collide with one another, according to NASA.

The reaction gives off a beautiful glowing light in the end.

orange earth
On October 7, an astronaut aboard the International Space Station shot this photograph while orbiting at an altitude of more than 250 miles over Australia. NASA

The photo, taken over Australia, shows part of the ISS in the very forefront of the photo from where the photo was taken inside the station. Millions of stars are visible in the background past the Earth and the Earth below is indicated with a curved line along the horizon and more dim lights on the landforms and clouds below.

The airglow gave researchers some insight into how the atmosphere works, according to NASA. It can be useful to scientists because it gives them information about the way the particles in the atmosphere interact between the Earth and space. This can reveal findings about Earth and space weather as well.

Research into this part of the Earth and space is often done through the data from satellites but photos like the one from the station can also help researchers find out more about the part of space.

The station orbits the Earth more than 200 miles above its surface and travels at roughly 17,500 miles an hour. That means the station orbits the Earth about every 90 minutes or so and the astronauts on board have the chance to see the sun rise and set multiple times a day.

The astronauts on board the ISS take photos and videos of the Earth down below on a regular basis to learn more about the planet and weather patterns. During hurricane season the astronauts post photos and video of the storms churning over the oceans.​