Seeing Red

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    NASA image captured September 26, 2011

    Many aurora appear green, but sometimes — as in this image from the International Space Station — other colors such as red can appear. The colors depend on which atoms are causing the splash of light seen in the aurora. In most cases, the light comes when a charged particle sweeps in from the solar wind and collides with an oxygen atom in Earth’s atmosphere. This produces a green photon, so most aurora appear green. However, lower-energy oxygen collisions as well as collisions with nitrogen atoms can produce red photons -- so sometimes aurora also show a red band as seen here.

    Karen Fox
    NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

    Credit: NASA

    NASA image use policy.

    NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.

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    tiger-robin, space the final frontier, and 330 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    View 20 more comments

    1. Photo--Graphy [deleted] 43 months ago | reply

      So nice...

    2. le cabri 43 months ago | reply

      Really interisting capture. Good work!

      commented with FlickrComment

    3. Bob Misu 43 months ago | reply


    4. Diego Gravinese 43 months ago | reply

      I don't feel envy often, but for god, I envy you guys. ..not as much as I love you. Thank you!

    5. 43 months ago | reply

      Great photo, worth watching...

    6. Gianluca@clickrchart 42 months ago | reply

      You and your photo were number 3 last week on ClickrChart!

    7. artland 42 months ago | reply

      This is a wonderful shot!
      You are invited to post it to:


    8. Mister Electron 42 months ago | reply

      Fantastic shot from a very unique perspective above out planet! It wa s great display on the 26th - to my amazement I saw it in the skies over Yorkshire England at 52°N. Couldn't believe my luck as I was out taking star-trails photos so had my camera to hand. Caught the red and green, just from a less exotic location! It's on my photostream if you folks at NASA Goddard might be interested. Thanks for posting this one from the ISS!

    9. Maria Johnsoon 41 months ago | reply

      Awesome. I look these nasa pictures especially nebulas ones but this one is breathtaking. layered hairstyles for thin hair is my favorite fashion picture. When i own this spaceship i would be glad to take meny pictures like this.

    10. concrete5cms 40 months ago | reply

      We love this picture and would enjoy using it for the background picture of the day for our content management system, Concrete5 CMS - .

      We have space to attribute the photo as well as link to any page you’d like in the footer. When it goes live it will reach about a quarter of a million people, so if you’d like to give us a custom title and different URL than your Flickr page we’d be happy to make sure it’s attributed as you desire. Just shoot me a Personal Message.

      Thank you for releasing your amazing work under this license.

      Franz Maruna

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