Thursday, 28 February 2013

Aurora Seen from the ISS in Orbit

I took a trip to Iceland in December to do some marketing work on a videogame I'm working on. I did get to sample the Icelandic attractions of things like the Geo Thermal delights of the Blue Lagoon, this was at night after a 3 hour flight from the UK and in freezing sideways rain, I never knew rain could fall sideways but the -2 windchill factor contrasted weirdly with the hot spa was an experience I'll never forget.
Of course the other thing that took some getting used to was the 5 hours of daylight. My biggest regret though is that while I was there for the entire week I never did get a glimpse of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). This simply stunning phenomena is caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere. The green hue is caused by oxygen emissions but can also be a brown-red colour depending on the amount of energy absorbed.Nitrogen emissions give off blue or red. Auroras are associated with the solar wind, a flow of ions continuously flowing outward from the Sun. The Earth's magnetic field traps these particles, many of which travel toward the poles where they are accelerated toward Earth.

Missing this amazing light show was a huge disappointment for me as its one of those things you add to your bucket list, still, there's always things like this stunning footage taken from the ISS in orbit to keep that dream going.

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