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: