With the Sun’s activity increasing just a bit, sky watchers have witnessed an uptick in aurorae, especially northern observers. This top image is from an *extreme* northern observer, as in way up; about 320 km (220 miles) up above the Earth. Astronaut Doug Wheelock took this image from the International Space Station, and the beautiful sight made him wax poetic:
“Aurora Borealis as I will forever paint it in my dreams,” he wrote on Twitter. “Almost time to return home… no regrets… but mixed emotions. Leonardo da Vinci was right… ‘For once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been… and there you will long to return.'”
See other stunning recent aurora images from a more Earthly viewpoint:
These particular aurorae sightings were likely the result of a solar flare that erupted towards Earth on Nov. 12.
Describing this picture, Salomonsen said on Flickr: “With a CME expected to hit earth on Nov.14th we could still see only a faint aurora. We got frustrated and then decided to drive back towards the city where it now was reported to clear up. After 5 minutes in the car suddenly we could see a strong aurora bursting out behind the partially cloudy sky.”
This is another gorgeous shot by Salomonsen, and on his Flickr site, he points out Ursa Major is visible in the top left, said it was just amazing how there were two rays of white and purple aurora, one moving faster than the other.
Photographer Sean Davies took this image on Nov. 13, 2010 near Dettah in the Northwest Territories, Canada, and said, “The aurora put on a great show just outside Yellowknife. The show lasted a good hour.” There’s another from Sean, below, on the same night. You can see more of Sean’s images at his Flickr site.
The photo below was taken on November 13, 2010 in Auster-Skaftafellssysla, Iceland by Skarphéðinn Þráinsson. See more of his images at Flickr.
This timelapse video was taken by Tor Even Mathisen, also from Tromsø, Norway.
*Posted especially for Hon. Salacious B. Crumb
Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today’s Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT’s Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is the author of the new book “Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos.” She is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.