Auroras and Other Lights Viewed from Space


Unique Black and White 35-mm Slides of the Aurora

The National Geophysical Data Center offers a set of 52 slides illustrating auroral variability and other nocturnal lights viewed from space. Each frame was prepared with no retouching from an extensive 35mm archive of satellite auroral imagery--nighttime images taken between 1973 and 1977 by DMSP satellites. Both Northern and Southern Hemisphere auroras are included. No photography from the ground rivals these striking satellite views of the aurora's distribution; no photography from the ground reveals as clearly, with patterns of city lights, the aurora's geographic position.

The slides are organized into 4 groups:

  • Frames 1-9 introduce the instrument, the satellites, and the repetitive chain of activity called an "auroral substorm".
  • Frames 10-22 capture different phases of the auroral substorm.
  • Frames 23-46 illustrate unusual auroral structures observed during different substorm phases.
  • Frames 47-52 show other sources of nighttime luminescence such as city lights, lighting strokes, fires of slash and burn agriculture, and atmospheric heating by the natural gas flares of oil refineries.

An Organized Slide Set with Captions.

Each slide has a caption that identifies the date and time, the auroral feature, the geographic area covered, and the level of auroral and magnetic activity. A complete set or any subset may be purchased.

For more information on ordering, click here.

Go to Aurorae Data page