Astronauts aboard space shuttle Atlantis captured an amazing view of green Aurora Australis or the Southern Lights on Thursday, while they passed west of Australia.
These auroras are created as a result of some natural mechanism between solar wind, a flow of ions, Earth's magnetic field and collisions between ions and atmospheric atoms and molecules that cause energy releases in the form of colorful lights.
Aurora Australis can be seen on Earth's horizon and a number of stars are visible also. Picture taken July 14, 2011.
Space shuttle Atlantis lifted off on July 8 on the final flight of the shuttle program, STS-135, a 12-day mission to the International Space Station.
Below are the pictures of Southern Lights taken by NASA astronauts:
This panoramic view, photographed from the International Space Station, looking past the docked space shuttle Atlantis' cargo bay and part of the station including a solar array panel toward Earth, was taken on July 14, 2011 as the joint complex passed over the southern hemisphere.
The Southern Lights or Aurora Australis is pictured in this July 14, 2011 NASA handout photo by an astronaut from the space shuttle Atlantis while visiting the International Space Station. Part of the orbiter boom sensor system (OBSS) is seen (L), as it was attached on the end of the shuttle's robotic arm (out of frame). A part of the port side wing of the shuttle is at right.