NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and ESA astronaut Tim Peake shared a series of aurora photographs taken from the International Space Station on 20 January 2016. Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) wrote, “#goodmorning #aurora and the Pacific Northwest! #YearInSpace” and Peake (@astro_timpeake) followed up with, “Getting a photo masterclass from @StationCDRKelly – magical #aurora”
For those wishing to know the photographic technical details, Tim used a 16.2-megapixel Nikon D4 camera for the images on his Flickr aurora page, employing 28mm f/1.4 and AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D lenses with exposures of 1/5 , 1/6 and 1/8 second at ISO8000.
The dancing lights of the aurora provide spectacular views on the ground, but also capture the imagination of scientists who study incoming energy and particles from the Sun. Aurorae are one effect of such energetic particles, which can speed out from the sun both in a steady stream called the solar wind and due to giant eruptions known as coronal mass ejections or CMEs.