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 November 14
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Auroras Over Both Earth Poles
Credit: Polar VIS, JPL, NASA

Explanation: Auroras in the north and south can be nearly mirror images of each other. Such mirroring had been suspected for centuries but dramatically confirmed only last month by detailed images from NASA's orbiting Polar spacecraft. Pictured above, a time-lapse movie shows simultaneous changes in aurora borealis, at the top, and aurora australis, at the bottom. A cloud of electrons and ions moving out from the Sun on October 22 created the auroras. The solar explosion that released the particles occurred about three days earlier.

Tomorrow's picture: A Sky Unknown

< | 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.