(Astronaut Ron Garan tweeted this photo by fellow spaceflyer Mike Fossum (@astro_aggie) on October 5, 2011, showing auroral glow over Earth. He wrote: “@Astro_Aggie is changing the way us earthlings view our planet. Great snap Mike! #ISS #NASA.” CREDIT: Ron Garan/Mike Fossum)
“Despite the presence of a brilliant nearly-full moon, skywatchers should pay attention to the northern sky tonight. If nature is in a showoff mood, for the second time in less than three weeks, a nice display of the Aurora Borealis — popularly known as the northern lights — may flare up.”
"The potentially dazzling northern lights display is possible because of solar flares, which are tremendous explosions on the surface of the sun. In a matter of just a few minutes they heat material to many millions of degrees and release as much energy as a billion megatons of TNT.”
Astronomy news, recent research results, and pretty pictures from the media along with context, commentary, and explanations for folks who dig this sort of thing. Written by a quasi-professional astronomer affiliated with the International Dark-Sky Association in Tucson, AZ.