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.

2002 October 22
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A Small Double Ozone Hole in 2002

Explanation: As expected, the ozone hole near Earth's South Pole is back again this year. This time, however, it's smaller than the past two years, and has an unusual double lobe structure. Ozone is important because it shields us from damaging ultraviolet sunlight. Ozone is vulnerable, though, to CFCs and halons being released into the atmosphere. International efforts to reduce the use of these damaging chemicals appear to be having a positive effect on their atmospheric abundance. The smaller size of the ozone hole this year, however, is attributed mostly to warmer than normal air in the surrounding stratosphere. The above picture of the ozone hole was taken on September 24 by TOMS on board the orbiting Earth Probe satellite.

Tomorrow's picture: Shuttle Ride

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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
& NASA SEU Edu. Forum
& Michigan Tech. U.