NASA Astronaut Snaps Glorious Green Aurora Views From Space

Auroras are magical no matter whether you see them from the ground or from orbit up on the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Bob Hines needed all-caps and three exclamation points for a tweet full of knockout aurora images. “Absolutely SPECTACULAR aurora today!!!” he wrote on Wednesday.

The four views show vivid green swirls of light clinging to Earth’s curve. “Thankful for the recent solar activity results in these wonderful sights,” Hines added.

One of the images shows the aurora in the distance with city lights and clouds down below. The photo is notable for a series of light streaks that appear against the darkness of space. Hines explained in a follow-up tweet that those streaks are actually reflections off the station’s solar arrays.

Look for the closely streaks of light against the darkness of space in this aurora photo. Those are reflections from the ISS solar arrays.

Bob Hines/NASA

The sun has been feeling peppy lately, sending out eruptions of charged particles that can trigger eye-popping aurora events on Earth. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shared a sun view from Aug. 15 and 16 showing several eruptions that were likely to have triggered light shows this week.

The sun’s outbursts can also potentially cause disruptions to spacecraft and communications, so it’s not all roses and auroras when our neighborhood star throws a fit. For humans on Earth and on the ISS, there could be a lot more auroras coming down the line. Our current solar cycle is looking like it’s going to be an active one. Talk about a glow up.

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