Aurora Atlantis

Astronauts aboard the space shuttle Atlantis got a light show worthy of the shuttle's historic last flight a few days ago. As the above shot attests, from the International Space Station the astronauts witnessed the Aurora Australis light up Earth's skin as solar wind particles danced with charged particles in the upper atmosphere. also has links to pictures of the very same auroral activity taken from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Robert Schwarz, back at the station for his seventh winter, said the activity was some of the best he'd ever seen.

Fans of the aurora should keep their cameras ready, as solar flare activity should send the magnetosphere into a frenzy in the next day or two.--Kip Rithner