Today, NASA‘s Astronomy Picture of the Day reveals what a huge “space flower” looks like. The photo, taken by Göran Strand, shows an incredible aurora seemingly sprouting from the Milky Way. It definitely resembles a giant green bloom in the night sky.
“Could the stem of our Milky Way bloom into an auroral flower?” began the explanation from NASA. “No, not really, even though it may appear that way in today’s featured all-sky image. On the left, the central plane of our home galaxy extends from the horizon past the middle of the sky. On the right, an auroral oval also extends from the sky’s center — but is dominated by bright green-glowing oxygen.”
The page continued, “The two are not physically connected, because the aurora is relatively nearby, with the higher red parts occurring in Earth’s atmosphere only about 1000 kilometers high. In contrast, an average distance to the stars and nebulas we see in the Milky Way [is] more like 1000 light-years away — 10 trillion times further.
“The featured image composite was taken in early October across a small lake in Abisko, northern Sweden,” NASA concluded. “As our Sun’s magnetic field evolves into the active part of its 11-year cycle, auroras near both of Earth’s poles are sure to become more frequent.”
Photographer Explains His Astronomy Picture of the Day
On his Instagram page, photographer Göran Strand explained a little more about his photo for NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day.
“Today my image of a galactic flower consisting of the Milky Way and a big Northern Light is Astronomy Picture of the Day at NASA,” he wrote in the caption of his photo. “This is my 23rd APOD and it’s always such an honor to get published by NASA.”
He then explained the process for the photo. “This image was made from 5 photos stitched together creating this big 360° panorama showing some really amazing Aurora together with the Milky Way,” he wrote. “I really like how the Milky Way and the Northern Light looks like a gigantic flower with the Milky Way acting as the flower stalk and the Northern Lights as a flower in full bloom.”
The photo itself is a truly amazing sight. The aurora seems to bloom off the screen when looking at it on social media. An incredible shot of an incredible phenomenon.
NASA Shares Photo of Lightning Strike in Moonlight
In another incredible photo from NASA, we can see lightning in a new light. Moonlight, that is. NASA recently shared a photo of a lightning strike highlighted by bright moonlight. An astronaut captured the image from the International Space Station as it passed over the South China Sea.
The image features a storm cloud, a lightning strike, and moonlight. No, that isn’t the setup for a joke. The photo looks otherworldly, as the light from the Moon lights up the storm cloud seemingly from the inside. A phenomenal look into how amazing our world and beyond truly are.