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.

2014 September 9
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

An Aurora Cupcake with a Milky Way Topping
Image Credit & Copyright: Göran Strand

Explanation: This sky looked delicious. Double auroral ovals were captured above the town lights of Ístersund, Sweden, last week. Pictured above, the green ovals occurred lower to the ground than violet aurora rays above, making the whole display look a bit like a cupcake. To top it off, far in the distance, the central band or our Milky Way Galaxy slants down from the upper left. The auroras were caused by our Sun ejecting plasma clouds into the Solar System just a few days before, ionized particles that subsequently impacted the magnetosphere of the Earth. Aurora displays may continue this week as an active sunspot group rotated into view just a few days ago.

Tomorrow's picture: our galactic supercluster


< | 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.