What starts as your everyday, run-of-the-mill, multimillion-degree blast of fire from the sun cools over the vast distances of space and by the time the charged particles reach the earths atmosphere we can see what is known as the aurora borealis, or, more commonly, the northern lights.

Even during the darkest and coldest nights of the year, when we can see the phenomenon the best, earthlings can still only see half of the spectacular aurora display.

Lucky for us, 240 miles above the earth, the crew of the International Space Station eagerly awaited nature's most impressive light show, photographed, documented, and sent back the most impressive images we've ever seen of the aurora borealis, along with its southern sister, the aurora australis.

All images were taken as the space station was moving along at 17,239 mph.

Images courtesy of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

source: GrindTV