Here’s a gorgeous view from the International Space Station, taken by the Expedition 30 crew on Feb. 4, 2012 as the station passed into orbital dawn. The greens and reds of the aurora borealis shimmer above Earth’s limb beyond the Station’s solar panels as city lights shine beneath a layer of clouds.
As the ISS travels around the planet at 17,500 mph (28,163 km/h) it moves in and out of daylight, in effect experiencing dawn 16 times every day.
From that vantage point, 240 miles (386 km) above the Earth, the lights of the aurora — both northern and southern — appear below, rather than above.
See this and more images from the Space Station’s nightly flights here.
Also, here’s a time-lapse video made from photos taken by the Expedition 30 crew a few days earlier. Enjoy!
(Video courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center.)
A graphic designer in Rhode Island, Jason writes about space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News, and, of course, here on Universe Today. Ad astra!