Photos: NASA Captures New Stunning Aurora Australis Images Over NZ [VIDEO]
By Anne Witter | Sep 30, 2011 08:45 AM EDT
NASA has captured enchanting images of Aurora Australis, seen over New Zealand in recent days, just in time for the crowd-gathering Rugby World Cup.
NASA astronauts took the new images over Indian Ocean on September 17 and edited the images to create time-lapse videos that take one's imagination literally out of this world.
One of the Sept. 17 videos now circulating on the web shows wildfire images in Australia.
Auroras are resulting lights from the interaction across particles of solar flares and the Earth's solar wind. The particles also reach with the Earth's magnetic field and release stunning light energy, seen in a few places on Earth, sometimes visible to the naked eye when it is not too cloudy.
Paul Cally, professor of solar physics at Monash University's Centre for Astrophysics in Melbourne, said a large region of solar activity, "AR1302", appeared around the east limb of the sun over a week ago, causing the aurora to appear. "It is over 100,000 kilometres long and consists of a dominant 'leader' sunspot and several smaller 'follower' spots."
Fairfax Media reports, Cally said he knew the aurora was seen in New Zealand quite clearly on Tuesday morning and added that it was quite likely there would be more activity. "It depends on what AR1302 does over the next few days."
The images were taken from the International Space Station.
Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) used a digital camera to capture several hundred photographs of the Aurora Australis, or "southern lights", while passing over the Indian Ocean on September 17, 2011.Source: NASA Date:09/30/2011