NASA astronaut Scott Kelly shared a 10-second time-lapsed video, showing ephemeral, swirling violet and green light in the atmosphere at sunrise; the video has gone viral.
Hovering in space more than two hundred miles above planet Earth, on the International Space Station, Astronaut Scott Kelly had the best seat in the universe for viewing one of nature’s most spectacular phenomenon – the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights.
The NASA astronaut shot a 10-second time-lapsed video, show swirling violet and green light in the atmosphere at sunrise, and then shared it on his Twitter account on Saturday. The video has gone viral. Other breath-taking still shots and videos of the light show are up on his Twitter page.
Astronaut Kelly is five months into his one-year mission aboard the International Space Station, and this is his second foray into tweeting images of the Northern Lights from space. He first tweeted video back in June.
There are two types of Aurora – Aurora Borealis, which means ‘dawn of the north’, and Aurora Australis, ‘dawn of the south.’ Aurora are caused by the interaction of solar with and gas molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere.
Streams of charged particles released from the sun reach our planet by solar wind, then enter the Earth’s atmosphere at the magnetic north pole. The charged particles “excite” gas molecules in our atmosphere, causing them to glow.
Astronaut Kelly is set to return to earth next spring. Until then, all of us earth-bound viewers will look forward to new and dazzling images of our lovely planet.