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.

2017 October 29
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Night on a Spooky Planet
Image Credit & Copyright: Stéphane Vetter (Nuits sacrées)

Explanation: What spooky planet is this? Planet Earth of course, on a dark and stormy night in 2013 at Hverir, a geothermally active area along the volcanic landscape in northeastern Iceland. Geomagnetic storms produced the auroral display in the starry night sky while ghostly towers of steam and gas venting from fumaroles danced against the eerie greenish light. Tonight, there is also a chance for geomagnetic storms triggered by recent solar activity, so high-latitude skygazers should beware. Ghostly shapes may dance in your neighborhood pretty soon, too.

Tomorrow's picture: orion's arrows

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