As the World Cup Kicks Off, Here's Brazil from Space

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Today, the soccer World Cup kicks off in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and during a recent orbital pass of the International Space Station, NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman snapped a serene nighttime shot of the soccer nation.

In the photograph, the city lights of Rio de Janeiro (center-right) and Sao Paulo (far-right) can be seen and, interestingly, three of the World Cup stadiums are also in the frame: Arena de Sao Paulo, Estadio Mineirao (Belo Horizonte), and Estadio Do Maracana (Rio de Janeiro).

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The green glow above the Earth’s limb is known as ‘airglow’ and is caused by the photochemical emissions from the Earth’s atmosphere. When exposed to ultraviolet light from the sun, atmospheric gas molecules are ‘charged up.’ Then, on the night-side of the Earth, this energy is slowly released and can be seen as a weak green-blue hue. From its unobstructed view of Earth, photographs from the space station will often include this glowing feature.

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