NASA astronaut shares stunning purple plume video, images

(Terry W. Virts/Twitter)

Once again Mother Nature has outdone herself, as the newest tweets from astronaut Terry W. Virts show. He captured some stunning images of a plume-shaped aurora lighting up the night sky over the weekend. This time the aurora was purple.



Aurora light displays are the effects of solar winds interacting with Earth's atmosphere, NASA explains.

An aurora's color is determined by its height, which affects which elements are part of the interaction. The most common color is green.


As astronaut Don Pettit pointed out, this purple is the result of red and blue mixing, the red being atomic oxygen and the blue being ionized nitrogen.


The aurora plume wasn't the only stunning phenomenon Virts shared over the weekend. As another video shows, sometimes just the view itself is breathtaking.

"No words to add to this night view," Virts captioned another video, which has been shared thousands of times.


Virts' adventures in space tweeting are soon to come to an end, as he is scheduled to return to his home planet early next month.

RELATED PHOTOS: NASA's "Earth at Night" series

Related Topics:
sciencedistractionnasaphotosspaceinternational space stationbuzzworthywatercooler


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