NASA has shared a breathtaking time-lapse video shot from the International Space Station (ISS) 268 miles above Earth.
The spectacular footage (below) features a gorgeous aurora that makes our planet look like another world.
For many astronauts who visit the ISS, witnessing an aurora is often one of the highlights of their stay. The natural phenomenon happens when particles from solar storms hit gases in Earth’s atmosphere, with the pretty displays emerging from the collision between the two.
This time-lapse video shows an orbital pass above an aurora-draped Indian Ocean all the way to a moonlit Coral Sea east of Australia. pic.twitter.com/U5pGdtdRvD
— International Space Station (@Space_Station) September 5, 2022
NASA shared the 64-second video on Twitter on Monday. It shows the view from the orbital outpost as it passes over the Indian Ocean before traveling onward to a moonlit Coral Sea east of Australia.
At the 25-second mark, look out for the bright image of the moon as it rises above Earth. And note how, at the 30-second mark, the aurora drifts out of the picture as the station travels over southern Australia. See if you can spot the Orion constellation rising, too.
Toward the end of the video, the footage shows the beautiful sight of moonlight glinting off the ocean several hundred miles below, before several lightning storms dot the nightscape.
If you’re wondering what that is in the middle of the picture, it’s the Canadarm2, a key part of the ISS. The robotic arm is used to assist astronauts during spacewalks outside the station, and can also be used to grab visiting spaceships to help them dock safely with the habitable satellite. Last year, the Canadarm2 suffered a scare when it was struck by a small piece of space debris, however, it managed to escape any serious damage and continues to function normally.
During their breaks, astronauts aboard the ISS often make a beeline for the seven-window Cupola module, which offers unrivaled views of Earth and beyond. Some like to grab one of the station’s many DSLR cameras, too, and capture the incredible scenery below.
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