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.

2013 November 6
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Creature Aurora Over Norway
Image Credit & Copyright: Ole C. Salomonsen (Arctic Light Photo)

Explanation: It was Halloween and the sky looked like a creature. Exactly which creature, the astrophotographer was unsure (but possibly you can suggest one). Exactly what caused the eerie apparition was sure: one of the best auroral displays in recent memory. This spectacular aurora had an unusually high degree of detail. Pictured above, the vivid green and purple auroral colors are caused by high atmospheric oxygen and nitrogen reacting to a burst of incoming electrons. Birch trees in Tromsų, Norway formed an also eerie foreground. Many other photogenic auroras have been triggered by recent energetic flares on the Sun.

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