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.
2015 December 8
Explanation: Legends collide in this dramatic vista of land, sea, and sky. The land is Iceland, specifically Vík í Mýrdal, a southern village known for its beautiful black sand beaches. The sea, the Atlantic Ocean, surrounds Reynisdrangar, a stack of eroded basaltic rock pillars that Icelandic folklore tells are the petrified remains of trolls once attempting to drag a three-masted ship onto land. Watching from the sky overhead is the princess Andromeda, who Greek mythology tells was left at sea to battle a monster that turned to stone. Notable in the constellation of Andromeda is the 2.5 million light-year distant Andromeda galaxy, visible as a fuzzy patch of light on the upper right. One might guess that all of this commotion caused the spectacular aurora pictured -- but really it was just explosions from the Sun.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.