Astronomy Picture of the Day
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October 26, 1995
Sailing upside down, 115 nautical miles above Earth, the crew of the
Space Shuttle Endeavour
made this spectacular time exposure of the southern
aurora (aurora australis) in October of 1994.
also known as the northern
and southern lights, appear as luminous bands or streamers of light
which can extend to altitudes of 200 miles.
They are typically visible from the Earth's surface at high latitudes and
are caused by high energy particles from the Sun.
The delicate colours are caused by energetic electrons colliding with
oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere.
In this picture, the rear
structure of the Space Shuttle is visible in the foreground with
the vertical tail fin pointed toward Earth.
are visible as small streaks above Earth's horizon.
Tomorrow's picture: The Tarantula and the Supernova
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