Full Sky Aurora

November 30, 2003


Provided by: Philippe Moussette
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster; Philippe Moussette

This full sky photo, taken on October, 30, 2003, shows a neon pink auroral above Quebec, Canada. Because this scintillating display covered much of the sky, a fisheye lens was needed to capture it. At aproximately 100 km (60 miles) above the Earth's surface, excited nitrogen molecules emit red light, which quite often forms the lower fringes of auroral curtains. In the ionosphere (above 300 km or 180 miles), oxygen is much more common than nitrogen, and excited oxygen molecules may also generate crimson colors, though these high altitude red aurora are rarely observed.

Photo details: Nikon FE Argentique camera, 8mm fisheye lens, exposed 15 seconds.

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