December 10, 2018

Astronaut Scott Kelly looks down on aurora lights


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A spectacular aurora is visible from the International Space Station in this scene captured by astronaut Scott Kelly. The space station's Canadian-built robotic arm is visible in the foreground. Credit: NASA
A spectacular aurora is visible from the International Space Station in this scene captured by astronaut Scott Kelly. The space station’s Canadian-built robotic arm is visible in the foreground. Credit: NASA

From a perch more than 250 miles up, astronaut Scott Kelly got a bird’s-eye view of this week’s spectacular auroral display that enraptured skywatchers around the world.

Triggered by an intense shower of high-energy particles from the sun, the light show came in shades of green, purple and even red, a color Kelly tweeted he had never seen in an aurora before.

Credit: NASA/Scott Kelly
Credit: NASA/Scott Kelly

Kelly, a retired U.S. Navy test pilot, is three months into a nearly year-long mission on the International Space Station, and he is sharing views of cities, stunning landscapes with the hashtag #EarthArt and glimpses of life aboard the orbiting research lab.

Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko is joining Kelly on the marathon space mission. A third crew member, veteran cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, is in command of the space station and is due to return to Earth in September.

Credit: NASA/Scott Kelly
Credit: NASA/Scott Kelly

The three-person crew is gearing up for the arrival of an unmanned SpaceX Dragon cargo craft June 30. The supply ship is due for liftoff from Cape Canaveral on Sunday.

Kelly also posted a time lapse video of the aurora on Twitter.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.


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