Northern lights: a view from up above


Astronaut Don Pettit created an astounding video using a sequence of still images he shot of the aurora borealis from the International Space Station. Don (born 20 April 1955) worked as a mission specialist on ISS Expedition 6 in 2002 and 2003, staying six months aboard the International Space Station, a joint project among the space agencies of the United States (NASA), Russia (RKA), Japan (JAXA), Canada (CSA) and eleven European countries (those forming the European Space Agency - ESA).

Aurorae are produced by the collision of charged particles from Earth's magnetosphere, mostly electrons but also protons and heavier particles, with atoms and molecules of Earth's upper atmosphere, i.e. at altitudes above 80 km (50 miles). In northern latitudes, the effect is known as the aurora borealis, and it was named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for north wind, Boreas by Pierre Gassendi in 1621

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