Rare sight of the Northern Lights from space

The northern lights as seen from space
The videos are composed of thousands of images taken by still cameras installed on the International Space Station. Photo: NASA

NASA has released a series of stunning videos showing the northern lights from space.

The new video is composed from a series of high quality still images taken from inside the cockpit of the International Space Station.

The northern lights as seen from space
The northern lights are seen simmering above North America. Credit: NASA

The still images were captured by the crew of Expedition 30 on board the space station in January.

Earth scientist Melissa Dawson had the idea to turn the thousands of pictures captured during each mission into films.

There are now plans to make films using the data images collected from other missions.

The film is composed from still images edited together, and does not contain any audio.

The northern lights can be seen above the Earth's northernmost regions; northeastern America, Canada, and some of the eastern Scandinavian countries.

NASA had predicted 2012 would be an extraordinary year for the displays, and judging from the video it looks like they were right.

The northern lights as seen from space
The images were taken by space station crew members in early January. Credit: NASA

NASA have released a number of other videos that show how the northern lights look from different geographical areas.

Viewers can also see how it feels to be on-board a space shuttle.

In a dizzying film captured by astronauts leaving the shutter of the camera open for an extended period of time, the light of starlight hitting the pacific ocean can be seen.

This new filming method will help scientists and scholars understand more about how starfields work, and help research into how stars affect the earth's energy.

Lights of the city and the Aurora Borealis.
The International Space Station filmed this sequence as it travelled from the north of the USA to Canada. Credit: NASA