A stunning new video of the Aurora Borealis shows the natural wonder as seen from the International Space Station, with a European Space Agency astronaut capturing over 700 photos to create the 32-second time-lapse video.
Aurora From The ISS
The aurora is truly one of nature's most impressive sights which is why it's not surprising why so many people travel to the Arctic in hopes of witnessing the natural light show. However, not many people get the privilege of watching the aurora from space.
Last Sept. 15, Expedition 53 crew member Paolo Nespoli captured 711 photographs as the ISS flew over Canada. Thanks to his efforts, even non-astronauts can see just how beautiful the aurora is even from above.
Aurorae are light phenomena that happen when energy particles speed out from the sun as solar wind and coronal mass ejections (CME) that travel to the Earth's atmosphere, causing trapped particles on the Earth's atmosphere to be released. In effect, oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the upper atmosphere release photons of light.
Depending on the location, the amazing yet complicated-sounding phenomenon results in either the Aurora Borealis (northern lights) or the Aurora Australis (southern lights). Often, the northern lights can be observed close to the North Pole, but geomagnetic storms could result in a light show that can be seen from as far as Arizona.
Nespoli And Expedition 53
Nespoli is an ESA astronaut from Milan, Italy who is currently assigned to the ISS on a five-month mission. Apart from being an ESA astronaut, Nespoli has impressive qualifications in both civilian and military life. He is a private pilot, a professional engineer, an advanced scuba diver and a nitrox diver as a civilian, while his military qualifications include being a master parachutist and a Special Forces operator.
Nespoli has previously been involved in other ISS missions in 2007 and 2008. His latest mission is for Expeditions 52 and 53. Despite his many experiences as an astronaut, it seems he still gets excited over the wonders of space and nature, just as he shared in his tweet regarding the Aurora Borealis.
— Paolo Nespoli (@astro_paolo) Sept. 23, 2017
Expedition 53 just began this month and will continue on until December of this year. Part of the mission's goals is to study cosmic ray particles and the benefits of fiber optic filaments in microgravity. They also want to investigate on therapies that could improve muscle atrophy and bone repair, as well as to study the capabilities of a new drug for bone repair.