Where In The Universe #77

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 Science@NASA

Check back next week for another WITU challenge!

15 Replies to “Where In The Universe #77”

  1. 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˜‰

  2. 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.


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

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

    From? No clue.

    When? No clue.

  5. 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”.

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

  7. 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”…

  8. 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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