International Space Station – Aurora South of Australia (June 24, 2016)

International Space Station - Aurora South of Australia (June 24, 2016)

Another photo by the Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams. This one was taken on June 24, 2016: the lights of an aurora from the International Space Station. Sharing the image on social media, Williams wrote, “We were treated to some spectacular aurora south of Australia today.” An aurora, sometimes referred to as a polar light or northern light, is a natural light display in the sky, predominantly seen in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions. Auroras are produced when the magnetosphere is sufficiently disturbed by the solar wind that the trajectories of charged particles in both solar wind and magnetospheric plasma, mainly in the form of electrons and protons, precipitate them into the upper atmosphere (thermosphere/exosphere), where their energy is lost. The resulting ionization and excitation of atmospheric constituents emits light of varying color and complexity.

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