Soar Through a Sea of Aurorae

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This stunning view of the shimmering northern lights was captured by the Expedition 30 crew as the International Space Station passed from over Wisconsin to southeastern Quebec on Jan. 25, 2012.

The video shows about five minutes of real time compressed into 30 seconds through the magic of time-lapse photography.

BIG PIC: Spectacular Aurorae Erupt Over Norway

Energetic solar activity during the last weeks of January sparked some very bright auroral displays over northern latitudes, witnessed by many observers around the world — as well as above it!

Aurora are the result of atmospheric ions excited by solar particles captured within Earth's magnetic field. As the ions drop back to their "normal" state, they release light that we can see. The different colors are dependent on the types of ions, as well as their altitude. Oxygen ions glow green, while nitrogen ions tend to glow with a reddish color.

Video courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, NASA Johnson Space Center. Via The Gaterway to Astronaut Photography of Earth.

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