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 As Danny Lewis reported for Smithsonian magazine in 2016, scientists estimate that airglow is about one billion times fainter than sunlight. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Green Glow Detected in Mars’ Atmosphere," 18 June 2020 By studying Mars’ airglow, scientists hope to learn more about its atmosphere. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Green Glow Detected in Mars’ Atmosphere," 18 June 2020 The brightest airglow happens during nighttime, when collisions between oxygen molecules create a bright green glow. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Green Glow Detected in Mars’ Atmosphere," 18 June 2020 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

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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The first known use of airglow was in 1949

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Cite this Entry

“Airglow.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/airglow. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about airglow

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