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Views from Space: Aurora Australis & Typhoon Dolphin

posted: 05/18/15
by: Danny Clemens

Once again, this week's edition of "Astronaut Views We Envy" comes courtesy of NASA's Terry Virts, commander of the International Space Station. Virts had an absolutely stunning view of Aurora Australis, also known as the southern lights, over Australia:


Although Virts laments missing prime view of the lights by mere minutes, we are sufficiently mind-blown. Aurora Australis and its northern companion, Aurora Borealis, are caused by quickly moving electrons that strike the Earth's upper atmosphere. The electrons excite the atmospheric nitrogen and oxygen particles, which then release excess energy as visible photons.

On a more somber note, Virts and Italy's Samantha Cristoforetti also had a prime vista of Typhoon Dolphin, which has thankfully weakened significantly since peaking as a Category 5 super typhoon:


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