Aurora Borealis Seen from Space!
Astronaut Tim Peake of the European Space Agency, snapped this gorgeous photo of the Aurora Borealis from his VIP seating on the International Space Station.
The Aurora Borealis, or commonly known as the “Northern Lights” (near the south pole the Aurora Australis – “Southern Lights”) takes place when large amounts of the suns’ energy (in the form of electrically charged protons and electrons) are carried to the earth in the form of Solar Winds. As these solar winds smash into the earth’s magnetic field known as the magnetosphere, most of them are deflected and sent around our planet, however some do make it through during strong events near the poles. Collisions between the electrons that squeeze through the magnetosphere and connect with the earth’s Nitrogen and Oxygen based atmosphere cause the electrons to become excited and give off energy in the form of photons or, light. The color of the Aurora that forms is dependent on the level of excitement of the electrons. High energy electrons cause oxygen to put off a green light (most common), while low energy will emit a red light and the more nitrogen present the bluer. A blending of these colors can lead to a spectacular display of pinks, purples, and whites!
Watch the Auroras light up the sky in the video below