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Cruising Previous the Aurora Borealis

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Cruising Past the Aurora Borealis

There are few experiences fairly like witnessing the aurora borealis. Generally referred to as the northern lights, these colourful ribbons of sunshine seem to bop within the sky over the planet’s excessive latitudes, attracting sky chasers and photographers. The sunshine additionally catches the attention of astronauts, who’ve snapped quite a few pictures of northern and southern lights from their distinctive perch on the Worldwide Area Station.

Astronaut Randy “Komrade” Bresnik shot this {photograph} on September 15, 2017, because the house station handed over Ontario, Canada. Curtains of inexperienced—essentially the most acquainted coloration of auroras—dominate the sunshine present, with hints of purple and pink.

The lights are the results of interactions between photo voltaic emissions and Earth’s magnetic area. The precise coloration is determined by the atmospheric gasoline and the quantity of vitality concerned. For instance, bursts of inexperienced mild happen after oxygen atoms are energized by collisions with fast-moving electrons.

Different sources of sunshine are additionally seen, together with high-latitude cities that dot the panorama beneath. And looking out within the distance towards the Earth’s limb, you possibly can see the distinct layer of airglow—mild emitted from chemical reactions brought on by daylight within the higher ambiance. Lastly, the intense blue-white glow close to the horizon is the pending dawn—one in all 16 sunrises seen from the house station every day.

A couple of week after Bresnik acquired the picture on the high of this web page, astronauts captured one other show of the northern lights over Canada featured within the video beneath. The video is a time-lapse, compiled from almost 1,000 nonetheless frames shot over a span of quarter-hour on September 28, 2017. The house station was passing from the northwestern United States towards the southeast on the time.

“The time-lapse imagery that we’ve been capable of get of auroras is simply fascinating to observe,” stated Will Stefanov, ISS program scientist for Earth observations at Johnson Area Heart. “And simply strikingly stunning to have the ability to see that course of, how the aurora shifts and strikes like a stay factor. And figuring out that for that exact stretch of time, you might be just about seeing what the crew noticed in orbit.”

Be taught extra about astronaut images within the Picturing Earth video sequence: half 1 Astronaut Photography in Focus; half 2 Window on the World; and half 3 Behind the Scenes.

Astronaut {photograph} ISS053-E- 23965 was acquired on September 15, 2017, with a Nikon D4 digital digicam utilizing a 24 millimeter lens and is offered by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Distant Sensing Unit, Johnson Area Heart. The picture was taken by a member of the Expedition 53 crew. The picture has been cropped and enhanced to enhance distinction, and lens artifacts have been eliminated. The International Space Station Program helps the laboratory as a part of the ISS National Lab to assist astronauts take photos of Earth that can be of the best worth to scientists and the general public, and to make these photographs freely obtainable on the Web. Extra photographs taken by astronauts and cosmonauts may be seen on the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Story by Kathryn Hansen.



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