Earth's Auroras Viewed From Space-SCIENCE VIDEO OF THE WEEK

Discovery Sees Aurora Borealis (NASA)

The space shuttle Discovery captured these awe-inspiring images of Earth, featuring the Aurora Borealis or Northern lights at our planet's North Pole, while docked at the International Space Station (ISS) last year.

Auroras happen when charged particles from the sun are attracted to Earth's magnetic field and strike the atmosphere, causing air molecules to glow.

They appear as green and red flickering lights, and are most often seen on Earth following solar flares and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) from the sun.

This time-lapse video also shows city night lights, the transition from night to day when the auroras disappear, and a beam of daylight illuminating the globe, as its surface revolves beneath the view of the space shuttle.

A Soyuz docked module and a solar panel from the ISS are visible in the foreground.

The footage was captured during mission STS-131, which ran for 15 days in April 2010. It was the 33rd shuttle mission to the ISS.

Discovery retired after its last trip to the space station in March as NASA's 30-year-long space shuttle program drew to a close. Atlantis made the final mission, STS-135, in July, and the program formally ended on Aug. 31.