Ice Mountains On Pluto

Hi everyone,

Guess What? Ice and Mountains on Pluto!

Here’s the latest. Nasa has discovered a relatively young mountain range and ice; how fascinating.

Here’s a segment of the article from

Icy mountains on Pluto and a new, crisp view of its largest moon, Charon, are among the several discoveries announced Wednesday by NASA’s New Horizons team, just one day after the spacecraft’s first ever Pluto flyby.

The Icy Mountains of Pluto

The Icy Mountains of Pluto

“Pluto New Horizons is a true mission of exploration showing us why basic scientific research is so important,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “The mission has had nine years to build expectations about what we would see during closest approach to Pluto and Charon. Today, we get the first sampling of the scientific treasure collected during those critical moments, and I can tell you it dramatically surpasses those high expectations.”

“Home run!” said Alan Stern, principal investigator for New Horizons at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado. “New Horizons is returning amazing results already. The data look absolutely gorgeous, and Pluto and Charon are just mind blowing.”

A new close-up image of an equatorial region near the base of Pluto’s bright heart-shaped feature shows a mountain range with peaks jutting as high as 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) above the surface of the icy body.

The mountains on Pluto likely formed no more than 100 million years ago — mere youngsters in a 4.56-billion-year-old solar system. This suggests the close-up region, which covers about one percent of Pluto’s surface, may still be geologically active today.

“This is one of the youngest surfaces we’ve ever seen in the solar system,” said Jeff Moore of the New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging Team (GGI) at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

Unlike the icy moons of giant planets, Pluto cannot be heated by gravitational interactions with a much larger planetary body. Some other process must be generating the mountainous landscape.

“This may cause us to rethink what powers geological activity on many other icy worlds,” says GGI deputy team leader John Spencer at SwRI.

The new view of Charon reveals a youthful and varied terrain. Scientists are surprised by the apparent lack of craters. A swath of cliffs and troughs stretching about 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) suggests widespread fracturing of Charon’s crust, likely the result of internal geological processes. The image also shows a canyon estimated to be 4 to 6 miles (7 to 9 kilometers) deep. In Charon’s north polar region, the dark surface markings have a diffuse boundary, suggesting a thin deposit or stain on the surface.

New Horizons also observed the smaller members of the Pluto system, which includes four other moons: Nix, Hydra, Styx and Kerberos. A new sneak-peak image of Hydra is the first to reveal its apparent irregular shape and its size, estimated to be about 27 by 20 miles (43 by 33 kilometers).

The observations also indicate Hydra’s surface is probably coated with water ice. Future images will reveal more clues about the formation of this and the other moon billions of years ago. Spectroscopic data from New Horizons’ Ralph instruments reveal an abundance of methane ice, but with striking differences among regions across the frozen surface of Pluto.


J.A. here. Isn’t that fantastic! What other secrets does Pluto have that we will soon know? Thanks again Nasa.

Thanks for tuning in. I’m J.A. Ireland.

NASA’s Three-Billion-Mile Journey to Pluto Reaches Historic Encounter

Hi everyone,

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is at Pluto.

This is from

After a decade-long journey through our solar system, New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto Tuesday, about 7,750 miles above the surface — roughly the same distance from New York to Mumbai, India – making it the first-ever space mission to explore a world so far from Earth.

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is at Pluto

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is at Pluto

“I’m delighted at this latest accomplishment by NASA, another first that demonstrates once again how the United States leads the world in space,” said John Holdren, assistant to the President for Science and Technology and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “New Horizons is the latest in a long line of scientific accomplishments at NASA, including multiple missions orbiting and exploring the surface of Mars in advance of human visits still to come; the remarkable Kepler mission to identify Earth-like planets around stars other than our own; and the DSCOVR satellite that soon will be beaming back images of the whole Earth in near real-time from a vantage point a million miles away. As New Horizons completes its flyby of Pluto and continues deeper into the Kuiper Belt, NASA’s multifaceted journey of discovery continues.”

“The exploration of Pluto and its moons by New Horizons represents the capstone event to 50 years of planetary exploration by NASA and the United States,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “Once again we have achieved a historic first. The United States is the first nation to reach Pluto, and with this mission has completed the initial survey of our solar system, a remarkable accomplishment that no other nation can match.”


Congratulations to Nasa and all who made contributions to this historic mission. Imagine what we are going to learn as the data rolls in; what nasa has already learned. We are changed for the better-forever, due to this epic accomplishment. Thank you Nasa.

I’ll keep you informed on this blog. I’m J.A. Ireland.

Pluto As Seen From New Horizons on July 11, 2015

Hi everyone,

It’s starting! The fly-by is beginning! New Horizons is still a million miles away from Pluto but in space that’s a short distance. Here’s the latest from It’s so exciting!

Pluto as seen from New Horizons on July 11, 2015

Pluto as seen from New Horizons on July 11, 2015

One million miles to go; Pluto is more intriguing than ever!

At 7:49 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, July 14 the unmanned spacecraft will zip past Pluto at 30,800 miles per hour (49,600 kilometers per hour), with a suite of seven science instruments busily gathering data. The mission will complete the initial reconnaissance of the solar system with the first-ever look at the icy dwarf planet.

Follow the path of the spacecraft in coming days in real time with a visualization of the actual trajectory data, using NASA’s online Eyes on Pluto.


View Feature

Last Updated: July 13, 2015
Editor: Tricia Talbert
Tags:  Dwarf Planets, Image of the Day, New Horizons, Pluto, Solar System


J.A., Can you believe it? That’s Pluto!

I’ll stay on top of this epic story by Nasa. Thanks for tuning in. I’m J.A. Ireland.

UK Space Industry Boosted: Major New Space Facilities Launched

Hi everyone,
Along with my continuing coverage of the New Horizons spacecraft, I wanted to recognize the UK for their outstanding achievements in the space program. This is an article from about the UK’s new space facilities.

Another boost for the UK’s £11.3 billion space industry as 2 new space facilities are opened at the UK Space Gateway in Oxfordshire.

  • Inauguration of European Space Agency’s ECSAT facility in the UK
  • STFC’s RALSpace opens £27.7 million state of art test facility
  • UK arm of Airbus Defence and Space awarded contract for Quantum satellite with Eutelsat and European Space Agency (ESA)

The inauguration day for the multimillion pound space facilities was also the backdrop for the first contract signed from the new European Centre for Space Applications and Telecommunications (ECSAT) – a €180m contract between ESA and Eutelsat for the first of an innovative class of geostationary communications satellite to be primed and manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space (ADS) in the UK using flexible payload technology and a new platform from Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL).

Speaking at the event, Minister for Universities and Science Jo Johnson said:

Putting cutting-edge knowledge and innovation and world-class space testing facilities right on the doorstep, the opening of the European Space Agency and R100 facilities at Harwell today are a major boost to the UK’s space sector.

Space is a great British success story and the partnership between Airbus Defence & Space, ESA and Eutelsat to build cutting-edge telecommunications satellites here in the UK is testament to that. Our investment in collaborative space science means the UK has the know-how and technical expertise to provide exciting and innovative space solutions that will drive growth and create jobs.

ECSAT – ESA’s home in the UK

ESA’s UK facility, ECSAT, has been developing steadily since 2008, following the UK government’s decision to increase its contribution to ESA.

Named after ESA’s British first Director General, Roy Gibson, ECSAT’s new building will host 120+ jobs including teams in telecommunications and integrated applications. Special emphasis will be put on the development of new markets for satellite-based services and applications. In addition, new satellite, ground infrastructure and product developments are being initiated through original schemes of public–private partnerships with world-class operators. The building will also house the Earth Observation Climate Office, Science and Exploration teams and Technology and Quality Management teams supporting ESA research and development programmes in the UK, focusing on ‘game-changing’ technologies and capabilities.


I wanted to recognize the UK Space Industry’s outstanding achievements on this blog. I’m sure everyone feels the same way; we owe the UK a great debt for all you have done for humanity.

Thanks for reading. I am J. A. Ireland.

Rosetta’s Comet Races Through Space

Space Enthusiasts,

Isn’t it fun to track asteroids,comets, and ships in space. I’ve been a space fan since my youth. This includes scifi books, movies, and TV shows; Star Trek being one of my all time favorites.



Another thing I’m keeping a close eye on is the comet, Rosetta. It’s racing through our solar system along with everything else. Here’s some information from Nasa’s website. about Rosetta’s Comet.

A number of the dust jets emerging from Rosetta’s comet can be traced back to active pits that were likely formed by a sudden collapse of the surface. These ‘sinkholes’ are providing a glimpse at the chaotic and diverse interior of the comet.

Rosetta has been monitoring Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko’s activity for over a year, watching how its halo of dust and gas grows as the comet moves closer to the Sun along its orbit.

Active regions in Seth medium

Active regions in Seth medium

From a distance of a few hundred kilometres, Rosetta observes an intricate pattern of the dust jets emitted from the nucleus as they stream out into space. But now, thanks to high-resolution images from the OSIRIS camera from distances of just 10–30 km from the comet centre last year, at least some of these dust jets can be traced back to specific locations on the surface, the first time this has ever been seen.

In a study reported today in the science journal Nature, 18 quasi-circular pits have been identified in the northern hemisphere of the comet, some of which are the source of continuing activity.

The pits are a few tens to a few hundreds of metres in diameter and extend up to 210 m below the surface to a smooth dust-covered floor. Material is seen to be streaming from the most active pits.

“We see jets arising from the fractured areas of the walls inside the pits. These fractures mean that volatiles trapped under the surface can be warmed more easily and subsequently escape into space,” says Jean-Baptiste Vincent from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, lead author of the study.

Scientists analysing the images think that the pits are formed when the ceiling of a subsurface cavity becomes too thin to support its own weight and collapses as a sinkhole. This exposes the fractured interior of the comet, allowing otherwise hidden material to sublimate, thus continuing to erode the pit over time.

Active pits medium

Active pits medium

“Although we think the collapse that produces a pit is sudden, the cavity in the porous subsurface could have growing over much longer timescales,” says co-author Sebastien Besse, of ESA’s ESTEC technical centre in the Netherlands.

The authors suggest three possible ways the voids are formed.

One idea is that they have existed since the comet itself formed, as a result of very low-speed collisions between primordial building blocks tens to hundreds of metres in size. The collapse of the roof above such a void could then be triggered through weakening of the surface, perhaps by sublimation or via seismic shaking or impact from boulders ejected from elsewhere on the comet.

Another possibility is the direct sublimation of pockets of volatile ices like carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide below the surface, heated by the warmth of sunlight penetrating an insulating top layer of dust.

Alternatively, sublimation could be driven by the energy liberated by water ice changing its physical state from amorphous to crystalline then sublimating the more volatile surrounding carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide ices.

This is fascinating stuff. While we’re on the name Rosetta, there’s also a satellite by that name. I took this information from as well.

Rosetta the satellite began her mission of traveling the galaxy in March 2004. The journey began in with an Ariane-5 launch from Kourou in French Guiana. The three-tonne spacecraft was first inserted into a parking orbit, before being sent on its way towards the outer Solar System.

Unfortunately, no existing rocket, not even the powerful European-built Ariane-5, has the capability to send such a large spacecraft directly to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Instead, Rosetta will bounce around the inner Solar System like a ‘cosmic billiard ball’, circling the Sun almost four times during its ten-year trek to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Along this roundabout route, Rosetta will enter the asteroid belt twice and gain velocity from gravitational ‘kicks’ provided by close fly-bys of Mars (2007) and Earth (2005, 2007 and 2009).

Rosetta Earth Fly By

Rosetta Earth Fly By

Rosetta first travels away from its home planet and then encounters Earth again, a year after launch, in March 2005.

Rosetta remains active during the cruise to Earth. The fly-by distance is between 300 and 14 000 kilometres. Operations mainly involve tracking, orbit determination and payload check-out. Orbit correction manoeuvres take place before and after each fly-by.

After the first fly-by of Earth in March 2005, Rosetta heads to Mars and then returns to Earth twice in November 2007 and November 2009 for its second and third fly-bys of our planet.

Rosetta Swings By Mars

Rosetta Swings By Mars

Rosetta flies past Mars in February 2007 at a distance of about 200 kilometres, obtaining some science observations.

An eclipse of Earth by Mars lasts for about 37 minutes, causing a communication black-out.

The spacecraft goes into passive cruise mode on the way to the asteroid belt. Rosetta observes the asteroids from a distance of a few thousand kilometres. Science data recorded on board are transmitted to Earth after the fly-by.

How Rosetta wakes up from deep space hibernation. After a large deep-space manoeuvre, the spacecraft goes into hibernation. During this period, Rosetta records its maximum distances from the Sun (about 800 million kilometres) and Earth (about 1000 million kilometres). Rosetta wakes up from deep space hibernation on 20 January 2014.

Our Sun by Hubble Telescope

Our Sun by Hubble Telescope

Rosetta arrives at comet.

In May 2014, Rosetta’s thrusters begin to brake the spacecraft, so that it can match Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko’s speed and orbit.Rosetta finally arrived at the comet on 6 August 2014. It is currently making the exciting transition to global mapping, lander deployment and the comet chase towards the sun.

This is so exciting; Rosetta’s Comet is terrific. I’ll continue to follow the comet right here.

Also check out my Maxx Zeqster blog at: .

Thanks for tuning in. J. A. Ireland.

NASA Missions Have Their Eyes Peeled on Pluto

Hi everyone.

I’m J. A. Ireland. I’m continuing my coverage of the spacecraft, New Horizons. It’s on the outer edge of our solar system. It’s hard to imagine we as a civilization have achieved such an accomplishment; thanks to Nasa we have.

We’re gearing up for the fly-by on July 14th; how exciting. The New Horizons spacecraft will take close-up pictures of Pluto. I can’t wait to see them.

The next parts of this article were taken from

What’s icy, has “wobbly” potato-shaped moons, and is arguably the world’s favorite dwarf planet? The answer is Pluto, and NASA’s New Horizons is speeding towards the edge of our solar system for a July 14 flyby. It won’t be making observations alone; NASA’s fleet of observatories will be busy gathering data before and after to help piece together what we know about Pluto, and what features New Horizons data might help explain.

Our Milky Way Galaxy

Our Milky Way Galaxy

“NASA is aiming some of our most powerful space observatories at Pluto,” said Paul Hertz, Astrophysics Division Director at NASA Headquarters, Washington. “With their unique capabilities combined, we will have a multi-faceted view of the Pluto system complementary to New Horizons data.”

Right around New Horizons’ closest approach to Pluto, Cassini will take an image of the dwarf planet from its station in orbit around Saturn. Although Cassini is the closest spacecraft to New Horizons’ distant location, the image of Pluto will be but a faint dot on a field of stars. Even so, the image will provide a scientific measurement of Pluto from a different vantage point that will complement data collected by New Horizons.

“The Cassini team has been pleased to provide occasional imaging support for New Horizons for several years to aid with the Pluto-bound spacecraft’s navigation. It’s great to provide one last look at it soars through the Pluto system,” said Earl Maize, Cassini project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Even after New Horizons flies past Pluto, the observations don’t end there. On July 23, Spitzer Space Telescope will begin a seven-day series of observations, gathering infrared data at 18 different longitudes. The data will reveal possible changes in ice on Pluto’s surface.

NASA Missions Have Their Eyes Peeled on Pluto

NASA Missions Have Their Eyes Peeled on Pluto

Spitzer is around 4.87 billion km (around 3 billion miles) from Pluto,” said Noemi Pinella-Alonso from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and lead investigator of the Spitzer observations. “The spacecraft provides an effective tool to study the ice on the surface and search for other materials that have not yet been identified.”

Beginning in October, the Kepler spacecraft in its new mission, K2, will train its unceasing gaze on Pluto for nearly three months. Similar to how Kepler detected distant planets by measuring the change in brightness of their host star, K2 will record the change in the reflected light off Pluto and its nearest and largest moon Charon. Scientists will learn more about the effects on the atmosphere and surface of Pluto imparted by the dwarf planet’s eccentric and expanding orbit about the sun. The data may also reveal seasonal changes on this chilly world.

“K2 observations will expand the time coverage of the speedy New Horizons’ flyby of Pluto, making observations of the dwarf planet-moon system every 30-minutes,” said Steve Howell, project scientist for Kepler/K2 at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. “We are excited to turn the planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft’s attention to this distant solar system object to provide additional scientific insight into this far off, mysterious world, itself a miniature solar system of five moons in orbit about Pluto.”

Prior to the New Horizons flyby, the SOFIA airborne observatory, an infrared telescope installed on a 747 aircraft, soared into the perfect position over the Southern Ocean on June 28, to be directly in line with Pluto and a distant star. As the dwarf planet and its atmosphere were backlit by the star, this “occultation” caused a faint shadow of Pluto to move across the surface of Earth at more than 53,000 mph, creating a ripe opportunity for SOFIA’s mobile instruments to perform scientific analysis to help scientists understand the density and structure of Pluto’s atmosphere.

Pluto and Satellite Planets

Pluto and Satellite Planets

“The New Horizons’ and SOFIA’s observations of Pluto provide a baseline measurement that will help track the evolving atmosphere of Pluto for years to come,” said Pamela Marcum, SOFIA Program Scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center. “This unique opportunity to connect what SOFIA observes remotely with in-situ measurements from New Horizons will allow future analyses of Pluto from Earth by SOFIA and other observatories to be considerably enhanced.”

Since its launch in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has provided the clearest Earth-orbiting telescopic views of Pluto and Charon, mapped the dwarf planet’s surface, and discovered four new moons. While monitoring Pluto in preparation for the New Horizons’ flyby, the telescope discovered the tiny moons Nix and Hydra. Kerberos and Styx were uncovered in 2011 and 2012 respectively. After analyzing several years of Hubble observations, astronomers reported this year that that the moons Nix and Hydra are tumbling chaotically along their orbits due partly to a dynamically shifting gravitational field caused by the system’s two central bodies, Pluto and Charon. The moons are also football shaped, which contributes to the chaotic rotation. Hubble continues to monitor Pluto in support of the New Horizons flyby.

With the combined observations of the many missions, scientists will have a rich set of data to work with to better shed light on the shadowy dwarf planet. The data will be available to the public once it is processed.

Last Updated: July 9, 2015
Editor: Tricia Talbert
Tags:  Ames Research Center, Cassini, Dwarf Planets, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Kepler and K2, New Horizons, Pluto, SOFIA, Solar System, Spitzer Space Telescope


What an exciting time in history. We’ll be the first people to see Pluto up close. I’ll stay tuned on this blog as New Horizons speeds closer to Pluto. I hope you’ll join me.

Thanks for stopping by. J. A. Ireland.

NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft Begins First Stages of Pluto Encounter

Space Lovers, I’m J. A. Ireland. I’ve had an interest in space from a very young age and I’ve always been very interested in what Nasa’s working on. For my interest and learning, and perhaps others, I’m going to track the spacecraft, New Horizons as it approaches Pluto, and other points of interest while I’m at it.

New Horizons Spacecraft Approaches Pluto

New Horizons Spacecraft Approaches Pluto

This is the beginning of an exciting new era for humanity. Imagine what we as a civilization will learn from Nasa’s work? What we’ve already learned?  The contributions Nasa’s made throughout history to humanity is unmatched. My thanks and I’m sure countless others thank Nasa and their personnel for their work and achievements. Some of my article today is taken from nasa’s website,—as are many photos. Some are from the Hubble telescope as well. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft recently began its long-awaited, historic encounter with Pluto. The spacecraft is entering the first of several approach phases that culminate July 14 with the first close-up flyby of the dwarf planet, 4.67 billion miles (7.5 billion kilometers) from Earth.

New Horizons

New Horizons-2

New Horizons

“NASA’s first mission to distant Pluto will also be humankind’s first close up view of this cold, unexplored world in our solar system,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington. “The New Horizons team worked very hard to prepare for this first phase, and they did it flawlessly.” The fastest spacecraft when it was launched, New Horizons lifted off in January 2006. It awoke from its final hibernation period last month after a voyage of more than 3 billion miles, and will soon pass close to Pluto, inside the orbits of its five known moons. In preparation  for the close encounter, the mission’s science, engineering and spacecraft operations teams configured the piano-sized probe for distant observations of the Pluto system that start Sunday, Jan. 25 with a long-range photo shoot. The images captured by New Horizons’ telescopic Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) will give mission scientists a continually improving look at the dynamics of Pluto’s moons. The images also will play a critical role in navigating the spacecraft as it covers the remaining 135 million miles (220 million kilometers) to Pluto. TimelineTimeline of the approach and departure phases — surrounding close approach on July 14, 2015 — of the New Horizons Pluto encounter. Credits: NASA/JHU APL/SwRI “We’ve completed the longest journey any spacecraft has flown from Earth to reach its primary target, and we are ready to begin exploring,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. LORRI will take hundreds of pictures of Pluto over the next few months to refine current estimates of the distance between the spacecraft and the dwarf planet. Though the Pluto system will resemble little more than bright dots in the camera’s view until May, mission navigators will use the data to design course-correction maneuvers to aim the spacecraft toward its target point this summer. The first such maneuver could occur as early as March. “We need to refine our knowledge of where Pluto will be when New Horizons flies past it,” said Mark Holdridge, New Horizons encounter mission manager at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland. “The flyby timing also has to be exact, because the computer commands that will orient the spacecraft and point the science instruments are based on precisely knowing the time we pass Pluto – which these images will help us determine.” The “optical navigation” campaign that begins this month marks the first time pictures from New Horizons will be used to help pinpoint Pluto’s location.


Planets via Hubble Telescope

Planets via PhotoJournal

Throughout the first approach phase, which runs until spring, New Horizons will conduct a significant amount of additional science. Spacecraft instruments will gather continuous data on the interplanetary environment where the planetary system orbits, including measurements of the high-energy particles streaming from the sun and dust-particle concentrations in the inner reaches of the Kuiper Belt. In addition to Pluto, this area, the unexplored outer region of the solar system, potentially includes thousands of similar icy, rocky small planets.

Dawn Survey Orbit Image 11

Dawn Survey Orbit Image 11

More intensive studies of Pluto begin in the spring, when the cameras and spectrometers aboard New Horizons will be able to provide image resolutions higher than the most powerful telescopes on Earth. Eventually, the spacecraft will obtain images good enough to map Pluto and its moons more accurately than achieved by previous planetary reconnaissance missions. APL manages the New Horizons mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), headquartered in San Antonio, is the principal investigator and leads the mission. SwRI leads the science team, payload operations, and encounter science planning. New Horizons is part of the New Frontiers Program managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. APL designed, built and operates the spacecraft. For more information about the New Horizons mission, visit: and Dwayne Brown Headquarters, Washington 202-358-1726 Michael Buckley Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md. 240-228-7536 Maria Stothoff Southwest Research Institute, San Antonio 210-522-3305 Last Updated: June 30, 2015 Editor: Karen Northon Tags:  New Horizons, Pluto, Solar System Pluto I’m keeping a close eye on New Horizons and will report it on this blog. May good fortune guide your path. I’m J. A. Ireland.

Solar Dynamics Observatory Sees M7.9-Class Solar Flare

Solar Dynamics Observatory Sees M7.9-Class Solar Flare

Astronaunts Working In Space

Flying Over An Aurora