NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold captured this stunning picture of the Northern Lights from aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
We may call them the “Northern” Lights, but this picture actually shows them over the southern hemisphere.
“Sunrise crashes an aurora party over the southern hemisphere,” the astronaut said as he shared the image on Twitter. NASA quickly picked it up and made it the image of the day last week.
“Auroras are one of the many Earthly phenomena the crew of the space station observe from their perch high above the planet,” the space agency said.
“The dancing lights of auroras provide spectacular views, but also capture the imagination of scientists who study incoming energy and particles from our Sun.
“Auroras are one effect of such energetic particles, which can speed out from the Sun both in a steady stream called the solar wind or from giant eruptions known as coronal mass ejections or CMEs.
After a trip toward Earth that can last three days, the solar particles and magnetic fields cause the release of particles already trapped near Earth, which in turn trigger reactions in the upper atmosphere in which oxygen and nitrogen molecules release photons of light.
“The result: the Northern and Southern lights.”