Aurora borealis

Aurora borealis

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Caption: Aurora borealis or northern lights display, seen from the International Space Station (ISS), along with lightning storms (glows, one at lower left). Auroral displays are caused by interactions between energetic charged particles from the Sun and the Earth's atmosphere. Moving at 400-500 kilometres a second, the charged particles of the solar wind are drawn by Earth's magnetic field to the poles, where they collide with gas atoms and molecules, causing them to emit light. Green light is from oxygen atoms, red from nitrogen molecules. The displays can be hundreds of kilometres above the Earth. The ISS orbits around 380 kilometres above the Earth. Photographed on 18 January 2003.

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Keywords: 2003, 6, arctic, atmosphere, atmospheric phenomenon, aurora borealis, aurorae, earth observation, earth science, earth's atmosphere, effects, electrical, electromagnetic effect, expedition six, from space, international space station, iss, january, lightning, magnetosphere, nature, night, night-time, northern lights, polar, satellite, sciences, solar activity, storm, storms, weather, wind

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