The International Space Station (ISS) has shared an “eerie green aurora” for tonight’s Halloween festivities, though admittedly it has more to do with solar storms than scary monsters.
— International Space Station (@Space_Station) October 31, 2022
ISS astronauts are often treated to astonishing views of aurora during the facility’s orbit some 250 miles above Earth.
The phenomenon happens when particles from solar storms clash with gases in Earth’s atmosphere. The resulting displays of swirling light can also be seen from the ground, too, with far-north locations such as Alaska, Canada, Iceland, Greenland, Norway, Sweden, and Finland being the best spots to catch them. Alternatively, you can also see them in places like Tasmania and New Zealand in the far south.
The one tweeted by the ISS on Monday was captured by NASA astronaut Don Pettit when he was part of the station’s Expedition 30, which took place 10 years ago
Compared to other auroras captured from the ISS in recent years, the one above is particularly intense, as the space station passes directly over it.
During his three space missions, American astronaut Pettit earned a reputation for capturing unique and beautiful imagery from the orbital outpost.
The astronaut still shares many of his images on his Twitter account, including this stunning picture taken from the station’s Cupola module that shows Earth as you’ve never seen it before.
Take this incredible video tweeted recently by Pettit, which shows an orbital sunrise from the space station.
— Don Pettit (@astro_Pettit) October 16, 2022
And here’s one of his trademark long exposures:
One of my favorites! https://t.co/7WgiBdGQ9c
— Don Pettit (@astro_Pettit) August 21, 2022
Pettit has also demonstrated a knack for innovation during his ISS voyages. During Expedition 6 in 2002-2003, for example, the astronaut used parts gathered from around the ISS to build what’s known as a barn door tracker, a device that enables sharper night shots of city lights far below by compensating for the station’s movement relative to the Earth’s surface.
Pettit’s Twitter profile reads: “I am an engineer by schooling, a scientist by profession, and an explorer by heart.” One look at his tweets, and you’ll agree that he’s an awesome space photographer, too.
- How to watch NASA’s Orion spacecraft splash down on Sunday
- Orion has close encounter with moon before heading home
- Watch space station’s new solar array unfurl in space
- Orion spacecraft reenters moon’s gravity on its way home
- See Webb’s most beautiful image yet of the Pillars of Creation