Astronaut Sees Aurora Glow Over the Pacific Northwest (Photo)

aurora, iss, year in space
Colorful aural lights dance exquisitely across the Pacific Northwest. (Image credit: ESA/NASA)

The northern lights dance delicately across the horizon of Earth in this amazing photo taken by an astronaut in space.

This cosmic view of auroras over Earth was one of a series posted on Twitter on Jan. 20 by NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and British astronaut Tim Peake of the European Space Agency from their perch on the International Space Station. 

These images were captured over the Pacific Northwest. Kelly (who posts as @StationCDRKelly) is known for his amazing images of Earth from the space station, and Peake (who posts @astro_timpeake) noted the excellence of the images in is tweet, "Getting a photo masterclass from @StationCDRKelly – magical #aurora."

While offering fantastic opportunities for photographers, auroras also intrigue scientists studying how the sun's particles interact with Earth's atmosphere. Charged particles from the sun make their way to Earth from coronal mass ejections but also in a steady stream contained in the solar wind.

Scott Kelly is currently in the homestretch of a one-year mission to the International Space Station. He and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko (also on the yearlong flight) will return to Earth on March 1. Peake, meanwhile, launched to the space station in December for his own half-year mission. 

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Christine Lunsford
Producer and Contributing Writer

Christine Lunsford joined the team in 2010 as a freelance producer and later became a contributing writer, covering astrophotography images, astronomy photos and amazing space galleries and more. During her more than 10 years with, oversaw the site's monthly skywatching updates and produced overnight features and stories on the latest space discoveries. She enjoys learning about subjects of all kinds.