The photographer said in an early email
This photo was taken at around 11:00 on February 6th in Iceland, facing the direction of the Big Dipper (Great Bear)
There were aurorae that night, at least as visible in northern Norway, as indicated by SpaceWeather.com: http://spaceweathergallery.com/aurora_gallery.html
. In comments to the Facebook APOD post of this image, another astrophotographer showed complex aurora were visible in Iceland two nights later: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... =3&theater
The photographer also said in an earlier email that the image is a mosaic of three photos and that there was some post-processing. Likely the colors of the aurora were made more vivid in post-processing.
An accomplished astrophotographer, skilled in taking aurora shots, has now looked over the image and, given those caveats, said the image seems plausible. For example, the stars in the background seem consistent with the stars visible that night from that location, and also there are no obviously repeating star patterns that are common in contrived fakery. Also, the brightness patterns in the aurora itself seems plausible.
Nevertheless, I have asked the photographer (and post-processor) to respond to this thread. Let's see what they say.
Postscript added on 2019 Feb 27: This post was in response to someone who questioned the authenticity of this APOD image. After some discussion, including a detailed email from the astrophotography team, this person withdrew their question and no longer disputes the image's authenticity. At the request of this person, their posts to this thread have been removed. - RJN