INFRASTRUCTURE

Photos: Sunrise, sunset, and aurora from the International Space Station

The sun passes the horizon from the ISS.
The sun passes the horizon from the ISS.
Image: NASA
By
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

Over the past few weeks, astronauts aboard the International Space Station have been busy photographers, capturing many brilliant shots of sunrise, sunset, and aurora from above Earth’s atmosphere. Here are some of those photos, as posted to the Facebook page of NASA’s Earth Observatory:

Image for article titled Photos: Sunrise, sunset, and aurora from the International Space Station
Image: NASA
Image for article titled Photos: Sunrise, sunset, and aurora from the International Space Station
Image: NASA
Image for article titled Photos: Sunrise, sunset, and aurora from the International Space Station
Image: NASA
Image for article titled Photos: Sunrise, sunset, and aurora from the International Space Station
Image: NASA

Astronauts Terry Virts of NASA and Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency, who are both currently on the International Space Station, also posted some photos and videos to Twitter:

There are plenty of opportunities for ISS astronauts to catch moments like these. The ISS orbits the Earth at a speed of about 17,150 miles per hour, meaning it does a lap around are planet—and catches a sunset—about every 90 minutes, or 15 times per day.

Auroras—the colorful light shows that are caused by charged particles from the sun bombarding the Earth’s atmosphere—are commonly seen in the northern latitudes, where they are known as the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights. Less frequently—during geomagnetic storms, for example—they can be seen at lower latitudes as well. Here’s a video of what such a storm looks like from the ISS: