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 December 23
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
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Summer at the South Pole
Credit: Galileo Project, NASA

Explanation: The December solstice brings the beginning of Winter to Earth's Northern Hemisphere and Summer time to the South! This view of Earth's Southern Hemisphere near the beginning of Summer was created using images from the Galileo spacecraft taken during its December 1990 flyby of our fair planet. Dramatically centered on the South Pole, this mosaic was constructed by piecing together images made over a 24 hour period so that the entire hemisphere appears to be in sunlight. South America (middle left), Africa (upper right), and Australia (lower right), are visible as dark masses while Antarctica gleams brightly in the center. Swirling clouds marking regularly spaced major weather systems are also prominent.

Tomorrow's picture: Gas Clouds and Star Clusters

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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.