Electric Blanket Photograph from NASA via AFP/Getty Images The soft green glow of the aurora borealis seems to swaddle the Pacific Northwest in a recently released picture taken by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Familiar green auroras appear lower in the atmosphere, around 60 miles (100 kilometers) above the surface. At altitudes round 185 to 310 miles (300 to 500 kilometers), the light displays are pure red. (See more aurora pictures.)
Shocking Display Photograph by Tommy Eliassen, My Shot Brilliant curtains of light shimmer over Norwegian mountains on February 14—part of a recent spate of auroras that caught sky-watchers by surprise. because the displays weren't linked to specific eruptions from the sun. Space scientists think the light shows arose due not to specific solar eruptions but to common—but no less curious—"cracks" in Earth's magnetic shield.