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.

2016 August 11
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Perseid, Aurora, and Noctilucent Clouds
Image Credit & Copyright: Göran Strand

Explanation: Night skies over northern Sweden can hold some tantalizing sights in August. Gazing toward the Big Dipper, this beautiful skyscape captures three of them in a single frame taken last August 12/13. Though receding from northern skies for the season, night shining or noctilucent clouds are hanging just above the horizon. Extreme altitude icy condensations on meteoric dust, they were caught here just below an early apparition of a lovely green auroral band, also shining near the edge of space. The flash of a Perseid meteor near the peak of the annual shower punctuates the scene. In fact, this year's Perseid shower will peak in the coming days, offering a continuing chance for a night sky photographer's hat trick.

Tomorrow's picture: the easterbunny

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