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Mesmerizing Videos of Northern and Southern Lights Seen From Space

• http://www.wired.com, By Brandon Keim
 Through the International Space Station's windows, 200 miles above Earth's surface, the auroras borealis and australis dance across continents. They're a regular treat for ISS astronauts who circuit the planet every few hours, passing frequently over Earth's polar regions, where the auroras are strongest.

Only infrequently do the lights, created when solar particles collide with Earth's magnetic field, drift to more median latitudes. One such show occurred last week after a large solar flare buffeted Earth with gusts of solar wind. In the United States, auroras glowed as far south as Maryland and Iowa, while in the southern hemisphere they could be seen above New Zealand.

It was a rare happening, which made it all the more frustrating for people whose view was blocked by clouds or drowned by city lights. So for everyone who didn't get a chance to see that summertime show, a consolation prize: videos of the northern and southern lights as seen from the space station.

On the following pages are videos shot in the first several months of 2012. They're collected on NASA's Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth site, where high-resolution versions can be found and new films are regularly added.
 
 

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