The bright display of Southern Lights was sparked by a solar coronal mass ejection (CME), which hit Earth’s magnetic field and sparked a G1-class geomagnetic storm. On the other end of the planet, the same storm produced bright Northern Lights over Wisconsin, Minnesota and parts of Canada. Both poles were ringed in light at the same time.
This isn’t the first time astronauts have seen auroras underfoot. The shuttle has flown right through auroral curtains with no ill effects–other than time lost while the crew crowds around the window to stare.The ISS also turns out to be a wonderful platform for aurora watching.
Next up: A solar wind stream is due to hit Earth’s magnetic field on June 26th, possibly sparking a new round of geomagnetic activity.