Aurora australis from space
THE AURORA AUSTRALIS, or Southern Lights, have been captured on video by astronauts in the International Space Station (ISS).
The auroras have mesmerised and fascinated humans for millennia and photographers have sought to capture their ethereal spirit.
They are created when the Sun heats up the charged particles – commonly oxygen (green/white/red) and nitrogen (blue/purple) – that are trapped in the Earth’s magnetic atmosphere. The atoms are momentarily excited by the burst of energy and as they drop back down to a normal state, they emit some of that energy as light.
On 17 September, says NASA, the ISS flew from Madagascar and past northern Australis, capturing some spectacular aurora australia lights. NASA says that this light show was a result of a coronal mass ejection from the Sun on 14 September, which energised the particles around Earth about 100-400km above the surface.
Australian bushfires seen from space
The ISS also captured bushfires in outback Australia. Some of the smoke plumes, to the right of the image, are visible. The image is also a reminder of just how thin our atmosphere is, with it’s faint, green glow highlighting this fragile layer.
Watch the northern lights online
Aurora australis light show
New measurement of the universe taken
Say goodbye to the space shuttle program
Walking on the Moon: exclusive video revealed
Solid diamond planet found
Buzz Aldrin endorses new space vision
History of the universe
…More stories about space