Dancing aurora seen from International Space Station; check NASA clip

A breathtaking view of the dancing aurora can be seen from the International Space Station in the latest video shared by NASA.

| Updated on: Apr 01 2023, 21:09 IST
Best NASA Astronomy Pictures of the Week: Aurora, Green flash sunset, Nebula and more
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1/5 Geomagnetic storm sparks auroras (March 27) - Millions of people in the US witnessed the magnificent Northern Lights triggered by a strong geomagnetic storm, which served as the catalyst. Even NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day for March 27 is dedicated to a mesmerizing view of an Aurora over the Arctic. (NASA/Cari Letelier)
Green flash sunset
2/5 Rare Green Flash Sunset (March 28) - It is a fascinating snapshot of a multiple green flash sunset captured from the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile last April. As the Sun sets on the horizon and disappears from view during sunset, sometimes a green flash may appear. (NASA/T. Slovinský/P. Horálek/CTIO)
Dolphin nebula
3/5 Dolphin-Head Nebula (March 29) - It is the Dolphin-Head nebula, located about 5000 light-years away from Earth towards the constellation of Canis Major, also known as the Big Dog. This weirdly fascinating nebula is about 70000 years old and spans almost 60 light-years across, as per NASA. The Dolphin-Head nebula has been catalogued as Sh2-308. (NASA/Aleix Roig (AstroCatInfo))
 Globular Star Cluster NGC 6355
4/5 Globular star cluster and Dark Doodad Nebula (March 30) - It is the Dark Doodad Nebula which lies beside the globular star cluster NGC 4372. Also known as Caldwell 108, the globular star cluster is located about 19000 light-years away in the constellation Musca. It was discovered in 1826 by the Scottish astronomer James Dunlop from his observation post in Australia. (NASA/ESA/Hubble Telescope)
5/5 Saturn's Moon Titan (March 31) - It is a snapshot showing 6 faces of Titan. Titan has a radius of about 2575 kilometers and is nearly 50 percent wider than Earth's moon. Saturn's icy moon is about 1.2 million kilometers away from Saturn, which itself is about 1.4 billion kilometers from the Sun. (NASA/ESA/VIMS Team)
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The viral video shows the green hues of the aurora shared by NASA on Instagram. (NASA)

An aurora is a natural phenomenon that never fails to mesmerize. And now, NASA's latest video has taken the beauty of the Northern Lights to another level! The US space agency has shared a breathtaking clip of the Northern Lights as seen from the sky-the International Space Station. “Look how they shine for you,” the space agency captioned the clip on its Instagram. The aurora borealis is seen with green hues dancing across the skies of North America.

The video spans the curvature of the Earth and as it moves forward, it reveals the bright lights of cities across the midwest United States. It left users awestruck and the video has garnered more than 1.2 million views so far.

What are auroras and how do they form

Auroras are a natural phenomenon of bright lights caused by magnetic storms initiated by the Sun's activity such as solar flares and ejections of gas bubbles called coronal mass ejections. "When these particles seep through Earth's magnetosphere, a part of our atmosphere that protects us from solar and cosmic radiation, they cause substorms. These fast-moving substorm particles slam into our thin, high atmosphere, colliding with Earth's oxygen and nitrogen particles," NASA explained.

This prompts these particles to emit energy, resulting in a range of colours that produce the stunning ribbons of light visible in the northern and southern polar regions of Earth.

Normally, auroras appear in regions closer to the Earth's poles since the magnetosphere is relatively weaker in these areas. However, during occasions when the Sun releases exceptionally strong solar storms, auroras can be seen farther from the poles. This situation occurred recently when a strong geomagnetic storm hit the Earth and treated sky gazers with amazing views of auroras that were visible as far south as Virginia and Arizona, the space agency added.

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First Published Date: 01 Apr, 21:08 IST
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