Aurora Observed from Satellite
January 30, 2002
This image was captured by a US Air Force Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellite on November 6, 2001 at 0245 UTC (9:45 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on November 5). DMSP satellites are in a sun-synchronous polar orbit at an altitude of about 450 nautical miles (about 833 km). The visible sensor has low-light capability to allow the imaging of nighttime phenomena such as the aurora seen here as a band of light stretching from New England into the northern Plains. City lights are also plainly visible - Chicago is near the center of the image, just south of the bright band. This striking aurora was visible to observers as far south as Georgia and southern California!