NASA astronaut showed what the northern lights look like from the ISS (5 photos + 1 video)

Category: Space, PEGI 0+
21 June 2024

The Northern Lights can mainly be seen only from Earth. But the crew members of the International Space Station were lucky: they saw a unique sight from space. The stunning video shows the bright green Aurora Borealis from 400 kilometers above the Earth.

The amazing video footage shows a bright green stream of light covering thousands of kilometers of our planet.

In the foreground is Boeing's cone-shaped Starliner capsule docked to the ISS. Two astronauts arrived on it, who by this time should have returned to Earth. But for technical reasons their departure was delayed.

The video was filmed by NASA astronaut Matthew Dominick. He has been on the ISS since early March.

Crew aboard the ISS: front row, from left to right: Suni Williams, Oleg Kononenko and Butch Wilmore. Second row from left to right: Alexander Grebenkin, Tracy K. Dyson and Mike Barratt. In the background are Nikolai Chub, Jeanette Epps and Matthew Dominick.

The aurora occurs due to disturbances in the Earth's magnetosphere caused by the flow of particles from the Sun, and is usually centered around the Earth's magnetic poles, so it is divided into the northern and southern lights.

Charged particles are ejected from the Sun at enormous speeds before interacting with the Earth's magnetic field. Although the aurora is green in the video, its color depends in part on which molecules the charged particles interact with. Red and green are typically the hallmarks of oxygen, pink and red are nitrogen, and blue and violet are hydrogen and helium.

One ISS orbit around the Earth takes about 93 minutes

The Boeing Starliner spacecraft docked to the forward port of the ISS on the Harmony module. Astronauts can enter and exit Starliner at their discretion.

Astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams arrived on the Boeing Starliner on June 6. They were supposed to stay on the ISS for only a week, but due to ongoing problems with the Starliner, they are not yet able to return home and are forced to stay longer than planned.

Experts have discovered five different leaks in the Starliner propulsion system, which is supposed to help navigate the ship through space when returning to Earth. NASA says Starliner will not return to Earth until Saturday, June 22—more than a week later than originally planned.

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