Why is NASA’s image of the snow-covered Himalayas from space going viral?

The picture taken by NASA not only captures the expanse of the bright white mountain ranges but also the city lights of New Delhi and Lahore, Pakistan
The snowy white peaks of Himalayas
The snowy white peaks of HimalayasNASA

American space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which is known for sharing pictures of earth’s beauty as observed from space, recently shared a picture that has gone viral.

The picture is of the snow-covered Himalayan ranges. The long exposure shot not only captures the expanse of the bright white mountain ranges but also the city lights of New Delhi and Lahore (Pakistan). Shared from NASA’s official Instagram handle, the picture was reportedly taken by one of the crewmembers aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

“The snow-covered Himalayan Mountains are in splendid view in this enhanced, long-exposure image taken by a crew member aboard the ISS”, the post read.

“The highest mountain range in the world, the Himalayas, is the result of 50 million years of collisions between the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates. South of the range, or to the right from this perspective, lies the agriculturally fertile region of northern India and Pakistan. North of the range, or to the left from this perspective, is the more arid Tibetan Plateau — the ‘Roof of the World’. The bright city lights of New Delhi, India, and Lahore, Pakistan, are also visible below the faint, orange airglow of atmospheric particles reacting to solar radiation,” the post added. ⁣

Since being posted, the photograph has garnered over 1.2 million likes and dozens of comments. One user wrote, “The orange interaction with Sun’s radioactive rays is the most amazing part for me.”

The Himalayan mountain range has some of the highest peaks in Earth, including the Mount Everest, located at the border between Nepal and China. Mount Everest was in the news recently when Nepal and China jointly announced that the world’s highest mountain is 0.86 metres higher than had been previously calculated. Until now, the countries differed over whether to add the snowcap on top. The new height is 8,848.86 m (29,032 ft)

This is not the first time that NASA has shared a breathtaking view of the Earth from space. Earlier this year, a NASA astronaut captured an incredible video of lightning from the ISS.

Meanwhile, NASA has named the 18 astronauts — half of them women — who will train for its Artemis moon-landing programme. Indian American Raja Chari is among the three astronauts selected by NASA and the European Space Agency ESA to fly to ISS as part of the SpaceX Crew-3 mission. Raja Chari will be commanding the mission.

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