NASA IMAGE OF THE DAY | JAXA astronaut Kimiya Yui captured the photograph below 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.

Yui and fellow Expedition 45 crew members Oleg Kononenko of Roscosmos and Kjell Lindgren of NASA packed their Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft and getting ready for the ride back to Earth. Their Soyuz undocked on Dec. 11, 2015 at 4:49 a.m. EST and land in Kazakhstan, wrapping up a stay of 141 days in space since their launch in late July.

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.

Expedition 45 began September 11, 2015 and ended December 22, 2015. This
expedition includes human research, biology and biotechnology, astrophysics
research, physical science investigations and education activities. Two spacewalks were planned during Expedition 45.

For the NASA TV streaming video and schedule, visit http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

For more information about the International Space Station, visit http://www.nasa.gov/station

Image Credit: NASA/JAXA
Last Updated: Dec. 9, 2015