Many people have probably put watching the northern lights on their bucket list, and are looking forward to a chance to witness thing amazing show. However, there’s something even more impressive than watching such a show on land – watching the aurora borealis from space. Thanks to an astronaut from ESA, we can enjoy the beautiful spectacle of lights from a different perspective.
Paolo Nespoli is an ESA astronaut who was present on the International Space Station just as the show of the northern lights was unleashing over Earth. Seeing the aurora borealis from outer space is one of the most breathtaking experiences one can enjoy, so Nespoli decided it was worth recording the view and sharing it with the rest of the world.
He took a series of pictures of the northern lights and, then, ESA put them together and built a beautiful timelapse video. The images show thirty seconds of the lights’ dance, as they were shining over Canada. Beautiful rays of purple and blue paint the Earth’s atmosphere, dominated by main hues of bright green. Nespoli initially shared the video on Twitter, but it was also posted on ESA’s official YouTube account.
How do northern lights occur?
The sun discharges a series of particles charged with electricity, which are pushed towards Earth by solar winds. When they reach close to our planet’s atmosphere and get into contact with it, the electrically charged particles and the atmosphere produce the kaleidoscopic light effect.
Most of the time, green is the dominating shade in the northern lights. This color is produced when the sun particles interact with molecules of oxygen. These molecules are usually placed about 60 miles above Earth.
Nespoli was not the only one who caught the aurora on tape. While he was enjoying it from outer space, many people from Canada got to view it from the ground. As a result, social media was filled with images of the northern lights captured near Alberta.
— John Barnes (@Johnny_B500) September 18, 2017
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons