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.
Volcano and Aurora in Iceland
Image Credit & Copyright: Sigurdur H. Stefnisson
Explanation: Sometimes both heaven and Earth erupt. In Iceland in 1991, the volcano Hekla erupted at the same time that auroras were visible overhead. Hekla, one of the most famous volcanoes in the world, has erupted at least 20 times over the past millennium, sometimes causing great destruction. The last eruption occurred only twelve years ago but caused only minor damage. The green auroral band occurred fortuitously about 100 kilometers above the erupting lava. Is Earth the Solar System’s only planet with both auroras and volcanos?
Panorama of the East Coast
This Jan. 29 panorama of much of the East Coast, photographed by one of the Expedition 30 crew members aboard the International Space Station, provides a look generally northeastward: Philadelphia-New York City-Boston corridor (bottom-center); western Lake Ontario shoreline with Toronto (left edge); Montreal (near center). An optical illusion in the photo makes the atmospheric limb and light activity from Aurora Borealis appear “intertwined.”
Image Credit: NASA
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.
2012 January 28
Planet Aurora Borealis
Image Credit & Copyright: Göran Strand
Explanation: Illuminated by an eerie greenish light, this remarkable little planet is covered with ice and snow and ringed by tall pine trees. Of course, this little planet is actually planet Earth, and the surrounding stars are above the horizon near Östersund, Sweden. The pale greenish illumination is from a curtain of shimmering Aurora Borealis also known as the Northern Lights. The display was triggered when a giant solar coronal mass ejection (CME) rocked planet Earth’s magnetosphere on January 24th and produced a strong geomagnetic storm. Northern hemisphere skygazers will also recognize the familiar orientation of stars at the left, including the Pleiades and Hyades star clusters and the stars of Orion. Increasing solar activity has caused recent auroral displays to be wide spread, including Aurora Australis, the Southern Lights, at high southern latitudes.
Deity of the Day
“Silver Wheel”; “High fruitful Mother”; Goddess of the Stars; Goddess of the Sky; Goddess of Reincarnation; Full Moon Goddess. Mother aspect of the Triple Goddess in Wales. Honoured at the Full Moon. Beauty, fertility, reincarnation. Her palace was called Caer Arianrhod (Aurora Borealis). Keeper of the circling Silver Wheel of Stars, a symbol of time and karma. This wheel was also known as the Oar Wheel, a ship that carried dead warriors to the Moon-land (Emania).