This is pretty damned amazing! This image (captured by the IMAGE satellite) is an enhanced image of the Aurora over the southern pole. It’s enhanced, because you really wouldn’t have been able to see much of anything due to the fact that it was in the ultraviolet spectrum.
There is a video as well, and be sure to click on the image to see the big version. It’s amazing….
Unfortunately, this may be the last thing we ever see from the IMAGE satellite, since on December 18th of last year, the telemetry was no longer received and it has not responded to commands. Not bad though, launched in 2000, IMAGE was really only expected to last a couple of years – so the fact that they have gotten more than 5 1/2 years out of it is more than anyone could ask.
Seeing the Aurora first hand is one of things on top of my list to do before I escape this mortal coil. There were a couple of times that I should have been able to see it while in PDX, but having lived in the city – the light pollution was way to severe for it to actually have spilled through into the city. I’m not sure who I’m going to get to drag to one of the cold places I want to go, but someone is coming. I know I can count the wife out – but I’m sure I can find some other sucker… err… companion to follow me to the South Pole.
Be sure to check out more of the images on earth observatory while you’re there.