Headlines > News > Picture of the Day - Aurora Shimmer and a Meteor Flash

Picture of the Day - Aurora Shimmer and a Meteor Flash

Published by Matt on Sun Dec 20, 2009 6:34 pm via: APOD
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Northern Lights, or aurora borealis, haunted skies over the island of Kvaløya, near Tromsø Norway on December 13. This 30 second long exposure records their shimmering glow gently lighting the wintery coastal scene.

Aurora Shimmer, Meteor Flash Credit & Copyright: Bjørnar G. Hansen,

Aurora Shimmer, Meteor Flash Credit & Copyright: Bjørnar G. Hansen,

A study in contrasts, it also captures the sudden flash of a fireball meteor from December’s excellent Geminid meteor shower. Streaking past familiar stars in the handle of the Big Dipper, the trail points back toward the constellation Gemini, off the top of the view.

Both aurora and meteors occur in Earth’s upper atmosphere at altitudes of 100 kilometers or so, but aurora are caused by energetic charged particles from the magnetosphere, while meteors are trails of cosmic dust.

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