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APOD Mystery Explained

I posted this November 13th and Professor Lewin of MIT explains the phenomenon today in his MIT class on Vibrations and Waves. He received about 3000 responses as a result of his original "mystery picture" posted as the Astronomy Picture of the Day on September 13, 2004.

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.
Identify this Phenomenon

Credit: Walter Lewin (MIT)

What did you think caused this effect?