The green fire of the aurora, seen from space

The green fire of the aurora, seen from space

The green fire of the aurora, seen from space

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
April 3 2012 6:00 AM

The green fire of the aurora, seen from space

On March 4, 2012, the International Space Station passed over the Indian Ocean. Solar activity was high, and a gorgeous aurora raged in Earth's upper atmosphere, yet still below the astronauts. On board the ISS, an astronaut took a series of still photos which were later put together into this video:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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[Set the resolution to hi-def to really see the detail.]

Isn't that lovely? I added the music (Supernatural by Kevin MacLeod at incompetech.com). Did you spot the moving light, traveling from left to right just as the video begins? That's almost certainly another satellite, moving along its own orbit hundreds or even thousands of kilometers away.

I've written about aurorae (like here) and this method of time lapse photography many times; check out Related Posts below. With the Sun still being tempestuous, expect to see lots more gorgeous photography of our active geomagnetic field over the coming months!

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Tip o' the spacesuit visor: Remi Boucher. Credits: Image Science and Analysis Laboratory, NASA-Johnson Space Center. "The Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth." Here's the original footage. Music: Kevin Macleod, Incompetech.com.



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