The current crew of the International Space Station Expedition 64 recently shared some beautiful photos of the auroras on Earth. The stunning natural colors are due to the station’s orbit, which takes it to 51.6 degrees above the equator.
As explained by Digital trends, auroras occur when particles from solar storms interact with gases in the Earth ‘s atmosphere. The best places to view auroras on Earth are as close to the Arctic Circle as you can get in the Northern Hemisphere, and the extreme south of Tasmania and New Zealand in the Southern Hemisphere.
The station’s orbit raises it to 51.6 ° above the equator, offering terrifying views of the earth’s radiance between the city’s lights and twinkling stars. https://t.co/gzNPCS8UMl pic.twitter.com/JEAwJI0LEX
– International Space Station (@Space_Station) January 23, 2021
But from space, moving your orbit into position can reveal a natural phenomenon. Below are the images recently shared in NASA’s Flickr account:
The image above was taken on January 18, when the International Space Station was in orbit 264 miles above the North Atlantic. “The aurora borealis of the Earth, an optical phenomenon caused by cosmic rays hitting the upper atmosphere, covers the horizon,” reads the caption.
This photo, also taken on January 18th, was taken when the ISS was in orbit 263 miles above Romania. The city lights of Sweden and Finland are visible under the glow above the earth’s horizon. The dark zone between the two Scandinavian nations is the Baltic Sea.
The two photos above were taken on January 13 from 264 miles above Kazakhstan and face north to Russia, where brightly lit cities can be seen under the northern lights.
Taken on January 12, these last two photos were taken over Russia. The first image shows a view between Ukraine and Kazakhstan, and the second is closer to the western border of Kazakhstan.
All the images above were taken on a Nikon D5 with a 58mm or 85mm lens.
This recently released documentary on NASA’s YouTube channel shows more radiance captured by the space station, along with several other stories about what it’s like to watch from above on Earth.
(via Digital Trends)