By: April Carson
In 2021, astronauts aboard the International Space Station witnessed some of the most intense auroras on record, taking stunning photographs. Astronaut Thomas Pesquet shared a couple of photos on his Twitter account revealing more information about this amazing experience.
What is an aurora?
The aurora is a bright, colorful display produced by the upper atmosphere's luminous glow when the solar wind collides with the magnetosphere. Charged particles in the solar wind are redirected and accelerated within Earth's magnetic field, reaching the dense layers of the atmosphere near to the magnetic poles.
Those at the surface, on the other hand, collide with atoms and molecules in the air and hence produce the stunning light we see from afar. It should be mentioned that Auroras have been observed on a variety of planets in our solar system, including Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune.
Extremely strong geomagnetic storms
Scientists have recently witnessed a high level of solar activity and one of the largest geomagnetic storms in recent years. Despite the fact that the next "solar maximum" is anticipated to occur around 2025/26, the Sun has lately experienced several strong eruptions.
The intense geomagnetic storm was caused by the re-emission of solar material from an M1.7-class epidemic that occurred in the early hours of November 2nd. Because experts predicted little magnetosphere disturbances, it was unusual. Scientists have documented one of the biggest magnetic storms in recent four years, according to scientists.
On November 3rd, the geomagnetic activity index climbed to 7 (with a maximum of 9), which is the third degree magnetic storm. The speed of solar wind blew up to more than 800 kilometers per second, and the density of interplanetary plasma increased by almost 100 times.
More significantly, the storm generated one of the largest auroras this season, and astronauts aboard the International Space Station captured some spectacular images of it.
Thomas Pesquet snapped a photo of the auroras from space
As the crew of the International Space Station prepared for their return flight to Earth, they were treated to an awe-inspiring spectacle: perhaps the most spectacular auroras of their entire six-month stay.
The astronaut Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency (ESA) posted the following photo on his Twitter account. He stated that he and his crewmates were flying just above the center of the auroras when spikes rose higher than the ISS's orbit. Since April, he has been posting photos of northern lights frequently.
On November 9th, SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft touched down in the Gulf of Mexico after a 16-month mission to the International Space Station. Today's return went off without a hitch, with just one of the four parachutes deploying a few seconds later than the rest.
It's too early to tell whether NASA will demand an additional investigation, which might push back the launch of the third long-term crew. SpaceX said it was typical behavior that was seen during the tests, and all four parachutes opened successfully, with no issues encountered during landing.
The International Space Station currently has three crew members, all Russians: Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov, as well as their American counterpart Mark Vande Hei.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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