Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2008 January 1
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Rays from an Unexpected Aurora
Credit & Copyright: Lyndon Anderson (Prairie Journal)

Explanation: This aurora was a bit of a surprise. For starters, on this day in 2002, no intense auroral activity was expected at all. Possibly more surprising, however, the aurora appeared to show an usual structure of green rays from some locations. In this view, captured from North Dakota, USA, a picket fence of green rays stretches toward the horizon. Mirroring the green rays is a red band, somewhat rare in its own right. Lights from the cities of Bismarck and Mandan are visible near the horizon.

Note: A German language mirror of APOD is now available.
Tomorrow's picture: Messing with Messier

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