NEWS

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly's aurora photos light up Twitter

06/24/2015 06:56 EDT | Updated 06/24/2016 05:59 EDT
While Canadians across the country prepared for a repeat performance of the auroras, an astronaut aboard the International Space Station has been documenting the stunning phenomenon on Twitter since Monday. 

American astronaut Scott Kelly, who is currently on a yearlong mission aboard the ISS, posted a series of photos and videos of auroras on Twitter. 

The light shows this week are the result of a solar flare earlier in the week. An intense blast of magnetic plasma shot out of the sun on Sunday, hitting Earth with a potent solar storm which created stunning light displays that were visible much further from the poles than usual.

A repeat performance is expected Wednesday night. Northern lights, also known as aurora borealis, will be visible across most of Canada and in the U.S states of North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan and northern Maine, according to the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center.

Kelly first gave his followers a sneak peek of the light show on Monday with two mesmerizing photos. 

On Tuesday, Kelly treated his followers with a video of the spectacle from more than 400 kilometres above the Earth.

Kelly, 51, is a retired U.S. Navy captain who was selected as an astronaut in 1996, according to NASA. Before the one-year mission, he accumulated more than 8,000 flight hours in more than 40 different aircraft.

Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko are currently on a yearlong mission in space (as seen in Kelly's use of hashtag #YearInSpace). The pair left Earth on March 27 and will remain on the orbiting outpost for a year.

The mission, which is twice as long as typical U.S. missions, is designed to study the impact on astronauts during long-duration space flights. It is also billed as a stepping stone for the exploration of Mars and beyond. 

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