The Southern Lights Look Beautiful Through Satellite Eyes

By Attila Nagy on at

The infrared eye of the Suomi NPP satellite captured this amazingly atmospheric light show created by the southern lights — aka aurora australis — over Antarctica before dawn on the 24th of June 2015.

The view was captured by the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) “day-night band” (DNB) aboard the satellite, which detects dim light signals such as aurorae, airglow, city lights, and reflected moonlight. NASA Earth Observatory explains what you can see:

In the image above, the sensor detected visible light emissions as energetic particles from Earth’s magnetosphere rained down into the gases of the upper atmosphere.

For the past two weeks, sunspot AR12371 has been crackling with flares, radio bursts, and solar storms as it has moved across the Earth-facing side of the Sun. Overnight on June 20-21, that active region launched a CME toward Earth that caused a severe geomagnetic storm on June 22-23.

[Jesse Allen/NASA Earth Observatory]