Astronomy Picture of the Day (Unofficial)

Astronomy Picture of the Day for 2017-03-20 12:30:01.760103

Astronomy Picture of the Day (Unofficial) at

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.

2017 March 20
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The Aurora Tree
Image Credit & Copyright: Alyn Wallace Photography

Explanation: Yes, but can your tree do this? Pictured is a visual coincidence between the dark branches of a nearby tree and bright glow of a distant aurora. The beauty of the aurora -- combined with how it seemed to mimic a tree right nearby -- mesmerized the photographer to such a degree that he momentarily forgot to take pictures. When viewed at the right angle, it seemed that this tree had aurora for leaves! Fortunately, before the aurora morphed into a different overall shape, he came to his senses and capture the awe-inspiring momentary coincidence. Typically triggered by solar explosions, aurora are caused by high energy electrons impacting the Earth's atmosphere around 150 kilometers up. The unusual Earth-sky collaboration was witnessed earlier this month in Iceland.

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Tomorrow's picture: kinetic orion