The phenomenon of auroras above our heads represents unique sights. However, there are different stages, as auroras can’t always be too bright and beautiful. But thanks to an astronaut from the European Space Agency named Thomas Pesquet, he captured a breathtaking photo of polar lights from a point located over 400km above the Earth.
The photo was taken more than a month ago, on August 20, and it showcases a wonderful spectacle of lights and colors. What would life be without colors? This photo is compelling enough:
Another #aurora but this one is special as it is so bright. It is the full Moon 🌕 lighting up the shadow side of Earth 🌎 almost like daylight. 🌞 #MissionAlpha https://t.co/vhJVPNqE1D pic.twitter.com/bcx6NNZsrj
— Thomas Pesquet (@Thom_astro) September 24, 2021
Megan McArthur is a NASA astronaut and also Pesquet’s crewmate, and she declared as quoted by Insider:
I wasn’t surprised by the auroras, but I was kind of bowled over by how breathtaking they really were, and how mesmerizing it was to see it with my own eyes.
Auroras have plenty of synonyms. You can also call them polar lights, northern lights, aurora polaris, southern lights, or aurora borealis. We’re talking about a natural light display in the sky of the Earth, and they’re predominantly seen in high-latitude regions (meaning around the Arctic and Antarctic).
Although auroras look like an outstanding phenomenon of nature, the scientific explanation behind them isn’t too sophisticated. The ions from the solar wind interact with oxygen and nitrogen atoms from the atmosphere of the Earth in the ionosphere. Such collisions cause the release of energy that leads to a colorful glowing halo around the planet’s poles, which translates to an aurora.
As you might have already guessed, auroras occur too high up in the Earth’s atmosphere that they’re unable to pose a threat to humans who are watching them from the surface.
There are two types of auroras: aurora australis and aurora borealis. These mean southern lights and northern lights, respectively.