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Astronaut’s Time-Lapse Video Features Auroras and Brilliant Sunrise

19 May 2017, 12:36 UTC
Astronaut’s Time-Lapse Video Features Auroras and Brilliant Sunrise
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French astronaut Thomas Pesquet caught stunning views of auroras and a sunrise over Earth from the International Space Station, woven into a new time-lapse video.
“The first bright rise… is not the sun!” Pesquet wrote on Twitter yesterday (May 17) — and indeed, amid the twirling auroras first the moon and then the planet Venus emerge over the horizon before bright sunlight fills the screen. The video, which was put together on Earth, plays at 25 times the actual speed, European Space Agency officials said in a video description.
The vivid green aurora visible in the time-lapse comes from charged particles jettisoned from the sun drawn toward the north and south poles of Earth’s magnetic field, hitting neutral particles in the upper atmosphere and letting off colorful light. The shine of airglow — light emitted from Earth’s atmosphere — is also visible bordering the planet.
Pesquet has been on the space station for 26 weeks along with NASA astronaut and space station commander Peggy Whitson and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Novitsky. Last month, they were joined by NASA astronaut Jack Fischer and Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin. Pesquetfrequently posts photographs of Earth from space as well as life on the station.
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