Expedition 50 Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency (ESA) photographed brightly glowing auroras from his vantage point aboard the International Space Station on March 27, 2017. Pesquet wrote, “The view at night recently has been simply magnificent: few clouds, intense auroras. I can’t look away from the windows.”

The dancing lights of the aurora provide stunning views, but also capture the imagination of scientists who study incoming energy and particles from the sun. Aurora are one effect of such energetic particles, which can speed out from the sun both in a steady stream called the solar wind and due to giant eruptions known as coronal mass ejections or CMEs.

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and ESA astronaut Tim Peake shared a series of aurora photographs taken from the International Space Station on Jan. 20, 2016. Kelly wrote, “#goodmorning #aurora and the Pacific Northwest! #YearInSpace” and Peakefollowed up with, “Getting a photo masterclass from @StationCDRKelly – magical #aurora”
Fast Solar Wind Causes Aurora Light Shows | On the night of Oct. 8, 2015, a photographer in Harstad, Norway captured this image of the dancing northern lights.
JAXA astronaut Kimiya Yui captured this photograph from the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM) window on the International Space Station on Dec. 6, 2015. JEM, also called Kibo – which means “hope” in Japanese – is Japan’s first human space facility and enhances the unique research capabilities of the International Space Station.