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.

2005 February 23
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Voyage of an Antarctic Iceberg
Credit: MODIS, Terra, NASA

Explanation: What if part of New York broke off and slammed into New Jersey? Both being anchored land masses, that is unlikely to happen, but an event of that size scale did occur off the Antarctic coast over the last three months. Long Island, New York sized B-15A iceberg floated across 100 kilometers of the Ross Sea and struck a submarine shoal just before an expected impact with the massive Drygalski Ice Tongue, visible on the bottom right of the last image. As it is summer in Earth's Southern Hemisphere, the relatively warm weather was expected to melt and clear much of surrounding ice, but now B-15A blocks much of this ice from floating out to sea. This created a problem not only for ships servicing McMurdo Station but also for penguins expecting to swim. The greater Ross Ice Shelf, from which B-15A calved, has shed several large icebergs over the past few years.

Tomorrow's picture: ski trip

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