Where In The Universe #77

Article written: 29 Oct , 2009
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015

Here’s this week’s image for the WITU Challenge, a spooky Halloween version, to test your visual knowledge of the cosmos. You know what to do: take a look at this image and see if you can determine where in the universe this image is from; give yourself extra points if you can name the spacecraft responsible for the image. An added “bonus round” this week: name the circular feature in the image, too. Weโ€™ll provide the image today, but wonโ€™t reveal the answer until tomorrow. This gives you a chance to mull over the image and provide your answer/guess in the comment section. Please, no links or extensive explanations of what you think this is โ€” give everyone the chance to guess.

UPDATE: The answer is now posted below.

This is a picture of auroras over Earth, specifically Canada with the large Manicouagan impact crater in the foreground. Clouds and Earth’s surface are illuminated by moonlight. The image was taken from the International Space Station by Mr. Wizard himself, astronaut Don Pettit. Read more about Pettit and his photography and wizardry at [email protected]

Check back next week for another WITU challenge!

15 Responses

  1. PolishBear says

    First response from “Scibuff” is correct: Aurora Borealis, with the Manicouagan Crater (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manicouagan_crater) in Canada visible. Not sure whether this photo is from ISS or the shuttle, though.

  2. scibuff says

    Aurora Borealis (above Manicouagan Impact Crater), Earth from the ISS

  3. Palmus says

    Auroras on Earth from ISS?

  4. Jorge says

    This is an aurora on Earth, either from the ISS or from the shuttle.

  5. Navneeth says

    The Earth — I’m guessing above the Antarctic region. Considering that the photo is so bad, I’m going to guess it was taken by an astronaut who was on board… Skylab! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Lawrence B. Crowell says

    I am late again. but I agree with this assessment. I would not have guessed the crater, for the ring looks like an unusual cloud.


  7. Jon Hanford says

    Possibly Aurora Borealis over Manicouagan crater probably taken by ISS crewmembers. Just a guess, though ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. vino says

    Aurora as seen from ISS…:)

  9. Nereid says

    Aurora, probably borealis (the circle is that famous crater in Canada, right?).

    From? No clue.

    When? No clue.

  10. Ringman says

    Beautiful Aurora, from either the ISS or the Space Shuttle.

  11. Feenixx says

    I forget his name …
    … but I’m almost certain the ISS astronaut who constructed a barn door tracker (for taking more precise hi-res photos of moving objects from a moving platform) from redundant materials and spare parts he found lying about on the ISS took this picture.
    It was a story I found fascinating at the time, like “Heath Robinson meets space-age high technology”.

  12. kammueller says

    Looks like a picture of Atlas standing on the back of a turtle holding up the world.

  13. Jon Hanford says

    Nancy, thanks for the link to astronaut Don Pettit and some of his unique contributions to NASAs manned space program.

  14. Feenixx says

    Great article on Don Pettit, and a picture of his barn door tracker, too! Now, here’s a man who’s got the “Right Stuff”…

  15. Mal says

    I remember seeing a moon-hoaxer once comment on the stars in this picture. Does anyone know if it has something to do with how the picture was taken?

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