A “transient luminous event” sounds like a euphemism for a ghost, but it’s actually a beautiful phenomenon that can sometimes be seen from the International Space Station. European Space Agency astronaut and current resident of the International Space Station, Thomas Pesquet, shared a vision of an ethereal blue glow emanating over Europe.
Transient flare events are caused by lightning in the upper atmosphere. This happened in early September and Pesquet tweeted about this weekHe described it as a “very rare event”.
The International Space Station is ideally placed to study colorful events, which are described using a series of fictional names, including elves, goblins, and giants. Photographers with keen eyes were able to capture it from the ground, as with.
“The exciting thing about this lightning is that only a few decades ago they were spotted by pilots and scientists weren’t convinced they actually existed,” Pesquet said on Flickr. Fast forward a few years and we can confirm that elves and orcs are very real and can affect our climate as well!
The Pesquet image represents one frame from a time interval taken from the station. The picture would be beautiful only for the way the curve of the Earth and the twinkling lights of Europe appear below. A fleeting illuminated event captured at its finest moment takes it to the next level.