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.

2010 September 17
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Northern Lights over Prelude Lake
Image Credit & Copyright: Yuichi Takasaka / TWAN /

Explanation: Curtains of shimmering green light sprawl across this gorgeous night skyscape. In the foreground lies the peaceful Prelude Lake, located about 30 kilometers east of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. From high northern latitudes these mesmerizing northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, are becoming a more familiar sight. As the September 23rd equinox approaches, nights grow longer and a favorable season for aurora begins. Recorded on September 11, this panoramic scene spans about 180 degrees. Brighter stars peering through the auroral glow at the left form the recognizable northern asterism, the Big Dipper. A more compact Pleiades star cluster shines at the far right.

Take a short survey about viewing astronomy images on mobile devices.
Tomorrow's picture: opposite the sun

< | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | RSS | Education | About APOD | Discuss | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
NASA Web Privacy Policy and Important Notices
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.