Samantha Cristoforetti filmed a breathtaking polar aurora from space: the wonderful video

Samantha Cristoforetti filmed a breathtaking polar aurora from space: the wonderful video

In a moment of rest during the Minerva mission, the Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti immortalized a spectacular polar aurora from space.

A couple of weeks after the publication of four magnificent shots dedicated to the polar aurora seen from space, Samantha Cristoforetti has returned again to delight us with the suggestive optical phenomenon, but this time it did it with a video of rare beauty. L’Italian astronaut of the European Space Agency (ESA) shared the video on their profile Twitter, like the images above, accompanying it with the inevitable description: “… And in the meantime, looking from the back, the aurora shines beyond the horizon. And can you see the shadows cast by the Moon on the elements of the @Space Station? ”, Cristoforetti wrote with a poetic air.

The polar aurora immortalized by Samantha Cristoforetti. Credit: Samantha Cristoforetti / ESA / Twitter

The video, lasting just over a minute, shows the auroral arches while they dance sinuous and pulsating on the Landcaressing it and illuminating it with a bright green like long snakes. Seen from the earth’s surface, this phenomenon is so beautiful that it takes your breath away, but admired from up there, at 400 kilometers above sea level while speeding at 7.66 kilometers per second (27,600 kilometers per hour), it must literally pierce emotions the observer.

The video was accompanied by a particularly apt “Chillout” soundtrack, which makes the show even more impressive. Also interesting is the detail highlighted by the Turin astronaut on the shadow of the Moon, which obscures the solar panels and other elements of the orbiting laboratory while traveling in space.

Samantha Cristoforetti is on her way to the International Space Station

Northern lights photographed in Iceland on 3 September 2022. Credit: Alessandro Nobili

Northern lights photographed in Iceland on 3 September 2022. Credit: Alessandro Nobili

Unfortunately, the details of the video do not allow us to understand if it is a ‘northern Lightsthat is, of a polar aurora in the northern hemisphere, or of asouthern aurora silhouetted on the southern hemisphere, like the one shown in the four shots shared on August 22 by the astronaut. The date on which the images were recorded was also not indicated. However, it could be the majestic Northern Lights that appeared in the middle of the night of September 3 in skies of Icelandimmortalized by some lucky tourists, such as the Italian Alessandro Nobili who kindly gave us his shots. The photographs were taken at 02:00, along the coast of Hafnarfjörður.

Northern Lights.  Credit: Alessandro Nobili

Northern Lights. Credit: Alessandro Nobili

Recall that the polar auroras are optical phenomena that occur in the ionospheretriggered by the interaction between the electrically charged particles of the solar wind and the gases present in this rarefied belt of the atmosphere. The reaction lights up the particles aligned with the green and blue Earth’s magnetic field, giving life to the incredible light show. The more energetic the solar wind, the greater the intensity and diffusion of the auroras. In this period of significant magnetic activity of the Sun., which between flares and coronal mass ejections (CME) continues to project strong flows of particles towards the Earth, the probability of splendid auroras such as those immortalized by Cristoforetti and by the tourist in Iceland are quite high. In reality, this phenomenon also hides a “dark side”: expulsions of excessively energetic material can in fact trigger dangerous geomagnetic storms on Earth, with the most powerful capable of “frying” satellites and damaging power lines and the internet, among other things.

In September 1859 the famous “Carrington event“Made the telegraphs catch fire and unleashed spectacular auroras even on the sky of Rome. An event of this type, in our hyper-technological and hyper-connected world, risks sending us straight to the Middle Ages, as scientists claim. Just these days one sunspot monitored by scientists has developed a delta-class magnetic field that could give off a class X flare, in turn capable of triggering a geomagnetic storm G5 (the highest and potentially destructive level). Our star in this period is rather “restless” as it is getting closer to hers maximum peak magnetic activity of the 11-year cycle, expected by experts for July 2025.


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