The circular blue glow is a “transient glowing event” seen from the International Space Station (ISS) in September 2021.

European Space Agency / NASA – T. Biscuits

A “transient light event” sounds like a euphemism for a ghost, but it is actually a beautiful phenomenon that can sometimes be seen from the International Space Station. ESA astronaut and current resident of the International Space Station, Thomas Pesquet, shared an ethereal blue glow that appeared over Europe.

Transient flare events are caused by lightning strikes in the upper atmosphere. This happened in early September and Pesquet tweeted about this weekHe called it a “very rare occurrence”.

The International Space Station is ideally located to study the colorful events described by a range of fictional names, including elves, goblins and giants. Sharp-eyed photographers could capture it from the ground like in These amazing views of red goblins shared in 2017.

“The exciting thing about this lightning bolt is that it was only discovered by pilots a few decades ago and scientists weren’t convinced that it actually existed.” Pesquet said on Flickr. A few years later we can confirm that elves and orcs are very real and can affect our climate too!

The Pesquet image represents a frame from a time interval recorded by the station. The picture would only be beautiful because the curvature of the earth and the twinkling lights of Europe appear below. A fleeting illuminated event captured at the best moment takes it to the next level.

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