(NEXSTAR) – The International Space Station experienced a recent celestial show, capturing the earth’s auroras from high above the planet’s atmosphere. The newly released photos show streaks of green and blue and even red dancing across the darkened night sky.
“The station’s orbit takes it as high 51.6° above the equator offering awe-inspiring views of the Earth’s aurora in between the city lights and the twinkling stars,” the ISP said on Twitter.
Auroras, also known as polar lights, are visible from land, as well as space. They are caused by collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun and gaseous particles in the earth’s atmosphere.
They can extend as high as 400 miles above the surface of the earth. According to the Northern Lights Centre, the best places to watch the lights in North America are in the northwestern regions of Canada, including the Yukon and Northwest Territories.
The auroras can also be seen over the south of Greenland and Iceland, off the northern coast of Norway and over the waters of northern Siberia. Southern auroras, called aurora australis, are “concentrated in a ring around Antarctica and the southern Indian Ocean.”
Auroral activity is cyclic, and the lights tend to peak in intensity every 11 years.
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