Astronomy Picture of the Day – Aurora in the Backyard

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.

2015 August 4

Aurora in the Backyard
Image Credit & Copyright: P-M Hedén (Clear Skies, TWAN)

 

Explanation: On the night of March 17/18 this umbrella of northern lights unfolded over backyards in Vallentuna, Sweden about 30 kilometers north of Stockholm. A result of the strongest geomagnetic storm of this solar cycle, auroral displays were captured on that night from back and front yards at even lower latitudes, including sightings in the midwestern United States. A boon for aurora hunting skywatchers, the space storm began building when a coronal mass ejection, launched by solar activity some two days earlier, struck planet Earth’s magnetosphere. So what’s the name of the backyard observatory on the right of the wide field view? That’s Carpe Noctem Observatory, of course.