Image: via NASA
You’ve seen amazing images of the Aurora Borealis and its counterpart, the Aurora Australis here on Environmental Graffiti in the past, but now you have a chance to see them as never before: from space. If you think the view down on Earth is incredible beyond words, wait until you see what these natural light phenomena look like from the International Space Station and through the lens of the Hubble Telescope.
Aurorae are created when charged particles from the sun, called the solar wind, interact with the magnetic shield that surrounds our planet (and other planets as well). On Earth, this magnetic shield, called the magnetosphere, protects us from radiation by pushing the solar wind around it. Electromagnetic waves and electric fields are created, then transfer their energy into electrons that interact with oxygen and nitrogen to create the beautiful natural light display we know as Aurora.