The aurora borealis over Høgtuva Mountain in Norway. The Earth's magnetic field funnels particles from the solar wind over the polar regions. More than 80 kilometres above the ground, these collide with molecules in the atmosphere causing them to glow: green and pale red for oxygen and crimson for nitrogen Photograph: Tommy Eliassen/Royal Observatory Soirce: Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012 – in pictures | Science | guardian.co.uk

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012 nominations – in pictures

The aurora borealis over Høgtuva Mountain in Norway. The Earth's magnetic field funnels particles from the solar wind over the polar regions. More than 80 kilometres above the ground, these collide with molecules in the atmosphere causing them to glow: green and pale red for oxygen and crimson for nitrogen Photograph: Tommy Eliassen/Royal Observatory Soirce: Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012 – in pictures | Science | guardian.co.uk

Swan nebula~ the heavens declare the glory of God. I don't know how scientists account for the "spire" formations.

Swan nebula~ the heavens declare the glory of God. I don't know how scientists account for the "spire" formations.

New Zealand's Southern Stars and Aurora Australis - ©/cc Ben Niven (Niv24) via deviantART

New Zealand's Southern Stars and Aurora Australis - ©/cc Ben Niven (Niv24) via deviantART

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