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Unstrange Phenomena

08 February 2012

Awesome Space Station Videos of Glowing Earth Aurora

Göran Strand of Östersund, Sweden, took a panoramic photo of 25 Jan 2012 sights and wrapped it into a 360-degree composition titled "Planet Aurora."

From Denny:  Check out the glowing rim of the Earth as seen from the Space Station.  The sun was highly active exploding out a huge dose of electrically charged particles that spectacularly lit up our Earth's upper atmosphere.

These photos were assembled into a video from NASA's Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth and were taken during the period of 25 - 30 January 2012.  Usually, the photos are taken at the speed of one frame per three seconds instead of one frame per second as done here.  The result is a more leisurely video because it is a bit slower than the true speed of the space station.  It gives you that dreamy "you are here" feeling as you watch it.

The first video is over North America and Canada.  The space station flight heads east from the Pacific over the Canadian West Coast and heads toward southern Alberta, near Calgary, documenting one minute of the flight.

Check out the green aurora flashes with splashes of red.  The red color comes from the atomic oxygen that exists at these higher altitudes.  The University of Alaska tells us why there is red with the green in the aurora in a lot more detail, if you are interested.

Now check out the space station's flight over the United States East Coast and central North America.

This video is from a pass southwest of Mexico to the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Newfoundland.  You can see the Gulf Coast, my part of the world, and the cities of New Orleans in Louisiana, Mobile in Alabama, Jacksonville in Florida and Atlanta in Georgia.

Then the East Coast appears to view the cities of Washington in D.C., Baltimore in Maryland, Philadelphia in Pennsylvania and New York City - if you don't know where that city is you must be an alien from off-world.

This next video is from North Dakota to central Quebec with the northern lights seen much closer to the space station.  It looks like the green light is dancing on the horizon.  It's no wonder ancient men thought there were gods in the sky.  When you view activity like this you could be led to think that mere forces in the universe are alive and sentient.

The folks in Sweden get all the best photos of the northern lights.  These beauties are from Chad Blakley at Abisko National Park in Sweden, the Swedish Lapland.  Be sure to check out Blakley's Lights Over Lapland website for more spectacular photography.

Can you imagine walking out to this beautiful sight in your town?

What a place for a winter picnic!

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