Sunday, February 18, 2024

Aurora Australis | International Space Station

Aurora Australis | International Space Station

Expedition 70 NASA Astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli "Sometimes I can’t believe this is our planet, OUR home. How lucky we are to live somewhere so spectacular and alive. I will definitely miss these views, but I look forward to exploring more of our planet and the beautiful views from the ground." 

On Earth, auroras are mainly created by particles originally emitted by the Sun in the form of solar wind. When this stream of electrically charged particles gets close to our planet, it interacts with the magnetic field, which acts as a gigantic shield. While it protects Earth’s environment from solar wind particles, it can also trap a small fraction of them. Particles trapped within the magnetosphere—the region of space surrounding Earth in which charged particles are affected by its magnetic field—can be energized and then follow the magnetic field lines down to the magnetic poles. There, they interact with oxygen and nitrogen atoms in the upper layers of the atmosphere, creating the flickering, colorful lights visible in the polar regions here on Earth.

Earth auroras have different names depending on which pole they occur at. Aurora Borealis, or the northern lights, is the name given to auroras around the north pole and Aurora Australis, or the southern lights, is the name given for auroras around the south pole.

Astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli Official NASA Biography:

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Expedition 70 Crew

Station Commander: Andreas Mogensen of the European Space Agency (Denmark)

Roscosmos (Russia): Oleg Kononenko, Nikolai Chub, Konstantin Borisov

JAXA: Flight Engineer Satoshi Furukawa (Japan)

NASA: Jasmin Moghbeli, Loral O'Hara (USA)

An international partnership of space agencies provides and operates the elements of the International Space Station (ISS). The principals are the space agencies of the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan, and Canada. The ISS has been the most politically complex space exploration program ever undertaken.

Image Credit: NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) 

Image Date: Feb. 5, 2024

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