Witnessing the Northern Lights is something that features on many people’s bucket-lists.
Now one lucky astronaut has trumped seeing them from Earth, and instead has posted an incredible image of the aurora from space.
Alexander Gerst, a NASA astronaut currently on board the International Space Station , tweeted his bird’s-eye view of the Northern Lights.
He tweeted: “Mind-blowing, every single time. I wonder what early explorers thought when they first saw an aurora without ever having heard about it…"
While the Northern Lights provide spectacular views on the ground and from space, they also capture the imagination of scientists who study incoming energy and particles from the sun.
In a blog about the Northern Lights, a spokesperson for NASA explained: “Auroras are one effect of such energetic particles, which can speed out from the sun both in a steady stream called the solar wind and due to giant eruptions known as coronal mass ejections.
“After a trip toward Earth that can last 2 or 3 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.”
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