“You cannot rob me of free nature’s grace,
You cannot shut the windows of the sky
Through which Aurora shows her brightening face.” -James Thomson
The northern (aurora borealis) and southern (aurora australis) lights are caused by a combination of three phenomena on our world, that make our aurorae unique among all worlds in our solar system:
- Outbursts from the Sun that can go in any direction,
- Our magnetic field, that funnels charged particles into circles around the poles,
- And our atmospheric composition, that causes the colors and the displays we see.
Put all of these together and add in a 4k camera aboard the ISS, and you’ve got an outstanding recipe for the greatest aurora video ever composed.
Here’s the in-depth science behind it, too, only from me and Starts With A Bang!