The video: With all the recent solar storms and other activity from the sun, it's been a banner year for the Northern and Southern Lights — otherwise known as auroras. Earlier this week, NASA released a "stunning video" of the Southern Lights (aurora australis) taken from the International Space Station as it orbited 200 miles above Australia, New Zealand, and Antarctica. (Watch the video below.) Amazing nighttime displays like this occur when electrically charged particles in the solar wind collide with atoms of oxygen or nitrogen in the Earth's atmosphere. The green color in this particular aurora is emitted by oxygen molecules.
The reaction: "Awesome," says Jason Samenow at The Washington Post. I'm simply amazed watching this "surreal video." It's a particularly special treat, says Britain's Telegraph, when you consider that on the September night this was filmed, a dense cloud cover "shrouded the spectacle from Earth." That just makes this glimpse from above all the more "spectacular." See for yourself:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
- Why America won't have enough money to battle ISIS
- The troubling persistence of eugenicist thought in modern America
- Why the Chinese military is only a paper dragon
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Libertarianism's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea
Subscribe to the Week