airglow

noun
air·​glow | \ ˈer-ˌglō How to pronounce airglow (audio) \

Definition of airglow

: light that is observed especially during the night, that originates in the high atmosphere of a planet (such as the earth), and that is associated with photochemical reactions of gases caused by solar radiation

Examples of airglow in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The faint greenish-yellow tracing of the upper atmosphere, which is seen above the horizon, is known as airglow. Fox News, "Epic space time-lapse captured from International Space Station," 23 Oct. 2019 Three of them look at a phenomena called airglow, the same process that creates the Aurora Borealis and other Earth auroras, but actually happens all around the globe. Richard Tribou, orlandosentinel.com, "Dropped from an airplane, Pegasus rocket to launch NASA’s ICON satellite into space," 9 Oct. 2019 Dr. Shepherd and Dr. Cho zeroed in on four kinds of zonal waves using images taken from a satellite deployed in the 1990s to measure airglow and other features of the atmosphere. Joanna Klein, New York Times, "Waves Above the Earth May Have Once Caused a ‘Nocturnal Sun’," 23 June 2017 Scientific instruments are sensitive enough to detect it, but not human eyes — until a bright night, when an unexpected alignment of waves in our upper atmosphere amplify that once invisible airglow, making it much brighter. Joanna Klein, New York Times, "Waves Above the Earth May Have Once Caused a ‘Nocturnal Sun’," 23 June 2017 That airglow arises when individual gas atoms—previously created when ultraviolet light blasted gas molecules apart— Sid Perkins, Science | AAAS, "‘Bright night’ glowing sky mystery solved," 21 June 2017 A bright night starts with a dull light called airglow, which is found more than 60 miles above the earth’s surface. Joanna Klein, New York Times, "Waves Above the Earth May Have Once Caused a ‘Nocturnal Sun’," 23 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'airglow.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of airglow

1949, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for airglow

Last Updated

17 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for airglow

The first known use of airglow was in 1949

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More from Merriam-Webster on airglow

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with airglow

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about airglow

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