Glowing aurora over North America •

Glowing aurora over North America


Glowing aurora over North America Today’s Video of the Day comes from the European Space Agency (ESA) and features a look at the glowing aurora over North America.

The timelapse clip was composed of a series of daytime photos taken by ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli. The northern lights stretch across Canada’s Quebec and Ontario provinces in the image, and are part of the auroral oval that expanded to middle latitudes because of a geomagnetic storm. 

Nespoli is on board the International Space Station as part of the Italian Space Agency’s long-term VITA mission. Earth’s magnetic-field lines channel these solar particles toward the planet’s north and south magnetic poles, which explains why auroras — the aurora borealis and its southern counterpart, the aurora australis — are high-latitude phenomena.

There are also plenty of options for good aurora viewing in North America. While far-eastern Canada tends to be cloudy, the shore of the Hudson Bay, the northern Canadian towns of Yellowknife or Whitehouse, or the west coast of Alaska are usually good bets.

Most aurora scientists prefer to use images from missions dedicated to aurora studies (such as Polar, IMAGE, and ground-based imagers), which can offer many more images of a storm (rather than one per orbit) and can allow researchers to calculate the energy moving through the atmosphere.

By Rory Arnold, Staff Writer

Video Credit: European Space Agency

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