Space Station Aurora

Space Station Aurora

September 30, 2011

Aurora

Many aurora appear green, but sometimes — as in this image from the International Space Station — other colors such as red can appear. The colors depend on which atoms are causing the splash of light seen in the aurora.

In most cases, the light comes when a charged particle sweeps in from the solar wind and collides with an oxygen atom in Earth’s atmosphere. This produces a green photon, so most aurora appear green. However, lower-energy oxygen collisions as well as collisions with nitrogen atoms can produce red photons — so sometimes aurora also show a red band as seen here.



Karen Fox
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
Credit: NASA

By | 2011-09-29T18:35:08+00:00 Sep 30, 2011|Categories: Natural phenomena, Space|Tags: , |

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