The Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights exhibited what seems like a very colorful dance on Sunday, Aug. 16 as it coincides with the sun rising over the Earth. Many photographers were keen to find the perfect spot to observe and take the most vivid photos but it looks like the astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS) had the most prestigious balcony seats all to themselves. Scott Kelly, an astronaut from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) filmed the event from space and posted it on his Twitter account to everyone's delight.
Kelly has been using social media to showcase videos and pictures from space while he is aboard the ISS. For his 141st and 142nd day at the space station, he was given the chance to see the Aurora in full bloom and willingly shared his sightings to his followers. Before he posted the video, he was already able to capture a photo of the Aurora, emphasizing the very apparent display of light as the sun was very active during that time.
"The Sun was very active and was at the pinnacle of its solar cycle, which runs for 11 years", Alan Duffy, a researchers at the Swinburne University explained to The ABC. With this, there were plenty of intense emissions that collide into the magnetic field of the planet Earth, further strenghtening the Aurora, he adds.
The lights exuded by the the Aurora are brought about by the intense activity of the Sun, according to the British Geological Survey (BGS). When explosions on the surface of the Sun occurs, it shoot out massive levels of charged particles into the space. These particles may reach the electromagnetic field of the Earth and get in contact with the gas molecules contained in the atmosphere. The energy created by this occurrence results in the emission of lights.
Kelly has gone pass through his first year at the ISS. His current mission is said to run for 342 days; hence, he is set to return to Earth next spring. In the meantime, he is bound to experience more amazing cosmic events while up in space and his followers will surely look out for his posts.
Here is the video:
— Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) August 15, 2015
Photo: Diana Robinson | Flickr