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What's Outer Space like?
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What's Outer Space like?

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Weightlessness Vacuum Vision Thermal Environment Radiation
  01 Is space empty?
02 The Earth is a Gigantic Magnet
03 Aurora Gallary

03 Aurora Gallary

An aurora appears when highly charged electrons from the solar wind from the Sun moves along Earth's magnetic field and interacts with Earth's atmosphere several hundred kilometers above the ground. The altitude is approximately the same as the altitude where the International Space Station's (ISS) orbits, thus the Space Shuttle and astronauts sometimes fly through the middle of an aurora. Astronaut Donald Pettit said he felt that he could almost touch the aurora with his own hands since it looked so beautiful and really close.

An aurora as seen from the ISS (Photo by Astronaut Pettit, the ISS Expedition 6 Crew)

An aurora as seen from the Andoya Rocket Range in Norway Photo of an aurora taken at the Andoya Rocket Range, in Norway. Due to the influence of Earth's magnetic fields, an aurora can only be seen near Earth's North and South Poles. The aurora, as seen from the ground, is like a curtain that spreads throughout the night's sky.

A green and red aurora spreading on the top of Earth's atmosphere (Photo by Astronaut Pettit, the ISS Expedition 6 Crew) The Aurora Borealis as photographed from the ISS. You can see a red aurora overlapping a green aurora. The colors of an aurora depends on the composition of the atmosphere, so the color changes at different altitudes. (Photo by Astronaut Pettit, the ISS Expedition 6 Crew)

An aurora over Canada, as taken from the ISS (Photo by Astronaut Pettit, the ISS Expedition 6 Crew) A vividly green aurora spreads over Canada. In this photo, the borderlines within the aurora can be clearly observed. In the lower left portion of the image, the lights from the Canadian towns can be seen.

An aurora and the Earth黌 atmosphere, as seen from the ISS  (Photo by Astronaut Pettit, the ISS Expedition 6 Crew) When this photo was taken during a sunset, the beauty of seeing a green aurora and a rainbow coloring Earth's atmosphere was breathtaking.

   
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