Aurora over Icelandic Glacier

Aurora over Icelandic Glacier

Hello, my little geeks and nerdlings!

Saw this image first thing this morning over at the NASA’s APOD website and my eyes popped open!

aurora-iceland-reflection[Image Credit & Copyright: James Boardman Woodend (Images Inspired by Nature)]

Explanation: Several key conditions came together to create this award-winning shot. These included a dark night, few clouds, an epic auroral display, and a body of water that was both calm enough and unfrozen enough to show reflected stars. The featured skyscape of activity and serenity appeared over Iceland‘s Vatnajökull Glacier a year ago January, with the Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon captured in the foreground. Aurora filledskies continue to be common near Earth’s poles as our Sun, near Solar Maximum, continues to expel energetic clouds of plasma into the Solar System.

Eye-popping. I love this kind of stuff. No, seriously. I love it!

If you haven’t made browsing the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day website part of your morning routine, I strongly urge you to do so. If nothing else, you’ll see some great photos and maybe gain a little perspective on your life.

aa-tribalfang

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Sakurajima Volcano with Lightning

Why does a volcanic eruption sometimes create lightning?

sakurajima-volcano-reitze

Pictured above, the Sakurajima volcano in southern Japan was caught erupting in early January. Magma bubbles so hot they glow shoot away as liquid rock bursts through the Earth’s surface from below. The above image is particularly notable, however, for the lightning bolts caught near the volcano’s summit. Why lightning occurs even in common thunderstorms remains a topic of research, and the cause of volcanic lightning is even less clear. Surely, lightning bolts help quench areas of opposite but separated electric charges. One hypothesis holds that catapulting magma bubbles or volcanic ash are themselves electrically charged, and by their motion create these separated areas. Other volcanic lightning episodes may be facilitated by charge-inducing collisions in volcanic dust. Lightning is usually occurring somewhere on Earth, typically over 40 times each second.

aa-tribalfang__________________________________________________________

Image Credit & Copyright: Martin Rietze (Alien Landscapes on Planet Earth)

Special thanks to NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day for the photo and text. (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.)