Earth's aurora and related luminescent atmospheric effects are generally quite dim, and mostly but not always located in the general area of Earth's magnetic poles.

That means to be seen easily by eye a spacecraft should have line-of-sight to the magnetic polar regions when they are dark, and the viewer protected from the glare of the Sun, Earthshine, Moonshine and ideally have dark-adapted pupils. These aren't necessarily firm requirements, but they help.

Answers about Skylab astronauts are welcome, but I'm primarily interested in reports from Apollo and earlier because they were

  1. of relatively short duration which means less likely that a particularly strong solar event would trigger a brighter and wider aurora
  2. got farther away from Earth than Skylab so might have had better visual access to the poles.

note: Since the histories are different and may even benefit from searching in different languages I've asked separately Have any Soviet-era astronauts reported seeing Earth's aurora or related luminescent atmospheric effects?



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