German astronaut Alexander Gerst captured an amazing timelapse of the Aurora Australis, aka the Southern Lights, glittering from the International Space Station.
The video shows 38 seconds of electric green lights dancing energetically to the tune of an upbeat piano song somewhere over the south pole.
According to the European Space Agency (ESA), the video is made up of nearly 1,000 images taken in rapid succession and was taken during one of the 16 orbits the ISS makes daily.
Gerst tweeted out his awe at the experience.
Saw my first Aurora Australis on this mission today, my silent magical old friend. 6 nose prints on the window, despite being busy with #science. Quite fittingly, the ship in the foreground is the one that carried @AstroSerena, Sergey & me into space almost 2 weeks ago. #Horizons pic.twitter.com/vlQNvQwUDM
— Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) June 20, 2018
Aurora Australis is the southern version of the more famous Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights.
Both are gaseous interactions between molecules hovering between 60 and 200 miles above the Earth and electrically charged particles from the sun, according to NASA.
Nitrogen causes a purple or blue aura. Yellow-green lights like those seen in the video above are caused by a collision of oxygen molecules found at about 60 miles above Earth. And red lights, though extremely rare, are caused by high-altitude oxygen collisions, NASA explained.
This phenomenon can take place at either magnetic pole, but the best place to see them without scientific equipment is in northern countries such as Canada or Iceland.
This isn’t the first time Gerst has been able to capture mother nature at her best from the space station.
In 2014, Gerst flew through the lights and was able to capture incredible pictures — hence, the ESA astronaut calling the lights his “old friend.”
He tweeted his reaction to seeing the lights from space for the first time.
Gerst frequently sets the camera to an automatic timer while he works, so here’s hoping we get another glimpse of the lights before he returns to Earth at the end of his mission later this year.
from Mashable! http://bit.ly/2zeo5Oy