PEKKA PARVIAINEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PEKKA PARVIAINEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Meteor and aurora borealis. Time exposure photograph of a bright fireball meteor passing a display of the aurora borealis, or Northern lights. The meteor is passing through the plough, a distinctive group of stars in the constellation Ursa Major. Aurorae are an atmospheric phenomenon caused by charged particles emitted from the Sun (the solar wind) interacting with gas molecules in the upper atmosphere, causing them to glow. Bright meteors, often called fireballs, occur when particles of dust enter the atmosphere and burn up due to friction with the air. This fireball appeared to move slowly, and reached a magnitude of -4, briefly outshining the nearby stars.
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