Footage captured from the International Space Station shows just how incredible the northern lights really are. 

Talia Avakian
September 26, 2017

Getting the chance to watch the mesmerizing dance of the northern lights can be a rare treat. But getting to see the aurora borealis from space is even more extraordinary.

Fortunately, an astronaut from the European Space Agency, Paolo Nespoli, was able to capture this spectacle from hundreds of miles above the Earth’s surface — and he shared the aurora borealis video with all of us stuck here at sea level.

With the help of Nespoli's images, the European Space Agency has pieced together a dreamy time-lapse video that showcases just what the northern lights looks like from the International Space Station as they glimmer across Canada.

Related: The Best Places to See the Southern Lights 

In the 30-second video, a bright swirl of vivid green light — with pulsating ribbons of blue and purple — can be seen igniting Earth's atmosphere.

“A stunning aurora caught my eye…its beauty is out of this world,” Nespoli wrote in a tweet sharing the clip on Twitter.

While Nespoli shared the footage of what the northern lights look like from the dark of space, others who caught the same performance shared what the aurora looked like from central Alberta.

This spectacular light display occurs when electrically charged particles from the sun are forced into contact with the Earth’s atmosphere by powerful solar winds. These particles interact with molecules in the atmosphere to create a kaleidoscopic mix of colors.

According to NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, green is the most common color of the aurora, as the hue is produced by oxygen molecules that reside some 60 miles above the Earth.

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