We recently reported that astronauts on board the International Space Station said they saw strange lights in space. NASA has discovered these were incredibly high auroras, produced by the recent solar storms, although they still don’t know how this was possible.

Auroras are usually only seen from Earth, close to the poles. They are generated by solar storms, and with space storms at a historical high, people recently saw auroras in 49 states. But until the recent astronaut reports, researchers didn’t realize they could also be seen from space.

Auroras are usually about 60 miles up and the ISS is about 250 miles above the Earth’s surface, so these recent auroras were much higher than usual. In space.com, Robert Roy Britt quotes physicist Bernard Jackson as saying, “It’s a mystery. This is far higher than anyone had ever expected.”

The high level of solar activity in November knocked out satellites, caused airplanes to change their routes, affected the electronics on the Mars Odyssey probe and may have caused the failure of Japan’s Mars mission.

William Henry solves mysteries about what ancient human history was really all about. Don’t miss his interview with Whitley on this week’s Dreamland.

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