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.

2001 April 6
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

Aurora Over New Zealand
Credit & Copyright: Chris Petrich

Explanation: Last weekend skygazers at middle and high latitudes around the globe were treated to expansive auroral displays as a magnetic storm raged around planet Earth. The storm was triggered by a solar coronal mass ejection associated with the giant sunspot group cataloged as active region number 9393. For example, pictured here in the early morning hours of April 1, the skies over New Zealand are alive with "southern lights". In the wide-angle time exposure, a towering red aurora is visible suspended above the foreground of a well lit lumber yard, train station, church steeple and buildings of the city of Dunedin. On April 2, the largest solar flare of the last 25 years also erupted near active region 9393, but because of its position near the Sun's edge the effects were largely directed away from our fair planet. However, all the recent solar activity underscores the fact that the solar maximum is still with us.

Tomorrow's picture: Stereo Sun

< | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | Glossary | Education | About APOD | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.