Here’s what the the northern lights look like from 512 miles up in space: glowing swirls of diaphanous fog

Just hours after the winter sosltice this month, particles blowing in the solar wind slammed into Earth’s magnetic field and kicked up quite the auroral ruckus.

The Suomi NPP spacecraft, orbiting 512 miles overhead — more than twice as high as the International Space Station — recorded all the action over Canada on December 22. The image above is based on the data that the spacecraft’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite, or VIIRs, gathered that night.

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