International Space Station Image of an Aurora

International Space Station Image of an Aurora

An image of an aurora from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/ESA/Alexander Gerst

Taken by astronaut Alexander Gerst, this photo shows an image of an aurora from the International Space Station.

European Space Agency astronaut Alexander Gerst posted this photograph taken from the International Space Station to social media on August 29, 2014, writing, “Words can’t describe how it feels flying through an #aurora. I wouldn’t even know where to begin….”

Crewmembers on the space station photograph the Earth from their unique point of view located 200 miles (320 kilometers) above the surface. Photographs record how the planet is changing over time, from human-caused changes like urban growth and reservoir construction, to natural dynamic events such as hurricanes, floods, and volcanic eruptions. Crewmembers have been photographing Earth from space since the early Mercury missions beginning in 1961. The continuous images taken from the space station ensure this record remains unbroken.

On Tuesday, September 9 aboard the space station, cosmonaut Max Suraev of Roscosmos takes the helm when Expedition 40 Commander Steve Swanson hands over control during a Change of Command Ceremony at 5:15 p.m. EDT. Suraev will lead Expedition 41 and stay in orbit until November with Gerst and NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman. Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov, Swanson, and Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev will complete their mission Wednesday, September 10 at 7:01 p.m. when they undock in their Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft from the Poisk docking compartment for a parachute-assisted landing on the steppe of Kazakhstan a little less than 3.5 hours later.


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