Astronomy Picture of the Day

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.

2000 January 15
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The Sun Also Rises
Credit : STS-47 Crew, NASA

Explanation: Sunrise seen from low Earth orbit can be very dramatic indeed (and the authors don't apologize to Hemingway for using his title!). In this breathtaking view from the space shuttle Endeavor, the Sun is just visible peaking over towering anvil-shaped storm clouds. The silhouetted cloud tops mark the upper boundary of the troposphere, the lowest layer of planet Earth's atmosphere. Sunlight filtering through suspended dust causes this dense layer of air to appear red. In contrast, the blue stripe marks the stratosphere, the tenuous upper atmosphere, which preferentially scatters blue light.

Tomorrow's picture: Gamma-Ray Observatory

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.