An amazing green aurora lit up the atmosphere blanketing Earth last Sunday, and astronauts onboard the International Space Station (ISS) share the view from space.
People have asked me what a “burrito of awesomeness smothered in awesome sauce” is... Well folks, it looks like this…awesome sauce is green. pic.twitter.com/rgTgbdb84f
— Jack Fischer (@Astro2fish) July 23, 2017
Jack Fischer, one of the three astronauts at the space laboratory, tweeted a timelapse video of the aurora borealis or northern lights captured on June 25. It was when the orbiting space outpost was flying south of Australia to the southern Pacific Ocean.
Light Display In Full Awesomeness
The images of the phenomenon were taken as the ISS moved 250 miles above the Earth’s surface, at a 17,500-miles-per-hour speed. The ISS is the biggest spacecraft in low-Earth orbit (LEO), where most space exploration currently takes place.
Fischer is currently staying in the ISS along with fellow NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson and Russian commander Fyodor Yurchikhin.
The Aurora In Focus
An aurora is a natural light display resulting from charged particles, which are emitted from the sun’s atmosphere, colliding with particles found in Earth’s atmosphere. The collisions produce bright light streaks, often in colors of green, pink, yellow, violet, and blue.
The sun does not emit the same amount of energy at all times, as there is a constant streaming solar wind as well as solar storms. In a solar storm known as a coronal mass ejection (CME), the sun gives off a massive bubble of electrified gas potentially traveling through space at great speeds.
Some of the energy and tiny particles from a solar storm can travel down the magnetic field lines at the north and south poles, moving into the planet’s atmosphere. Auroras form when the particles interact with gases in the atmosphere, leading to a gorgeous light display in the sky.
Auroras are not unique to Earth, because they are likely to also occur if a planet maintains an atmosphere and magnetic field. Auroras on Jupiter and Saturn have already been witnessed, NASA added.
Back in April, northern lights-chasing citizens came upon a new feature of the aurora borealis. Featured as a purple streak of light in the night sky, the phenomenon was given a name of its own on social media: Steve.