European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Pesquet likes to spend his free time aboard the International Space Station capturing photographs as well as stunning video footage, and the latest is of the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights. Although the exact location wasn’t provided, he did say that clouds competed for attention in this aurora time-lapse over a sparkling blue ocean. Read more for the video and additional information.
— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) September 14, 2021
Auroras occur when there are disturbances in the magnetosphere caused by solar wind, thus altering the trajectories of charged particles in the magnetospheric plasma. These electrons and protons are then discharged into the upper atmosphere, resulting in ionization and excitation of atmospheric constituents that emit light of various colors.
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I don’t know why we saw so many [auroras] in the span of a few days, when I barely saw one during my entire first mission, but these last ones came with something extra. As the Moon was high and bright, it lit up the clouds from above, which created a distinct atmosphere…and almost turned the aurora blue,” said Pesquet.