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.

2003 January 02
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Mt. Etna Eruption Plume
Credit: International Space Station Crew, NASA

Explanation: Mt. Etna has been erupting for hundreds of thousands of years. In late October of last year, however, earthquakes triggered a particularly vigorous outburst from this well known volcano on the Italian island of Sicily. Local schools were closed and air-traffic re-routed as hot lava poured out and ash spewed out and settled as far away as Libya. Pictured above was the Mt. Etna ash plume as it appeared to astronauts on the International Space Station. The view looks toward the southeast. Light colored smoke is due to forest fires caused by lava on the volcano's north face.

Tomorrow's picture: not so long ago ...

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
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