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.

2006 February 20
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SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free
Credit: ISS Expedition 12 Crew, NASA

Explanation: Who dunnit? Like a scene from a space mystery movie, a spacesuit floated away from the International Space Station earlier this month, but no investigation was needed. It was pushed out by the space station crew. Dubbed Suitsat-1, the unneeded Russian Orlan spacesuit filled mostly with old clothes was fitted with a faint radio transmitter and released to orbit the Earth. Suitsat-1 will orbit once every 90 minutes until it burns up in the Earth's atmosphere within a few weeks. The suit circled the Earth twice before its radio signal became unexpectedly weak. Pictured above, the lifeless spacesuit was photographed as it drifted away from the Earth-orbiting space station earlier this month.

Tomorrow's picture: horse wisps

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
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& Michigan Tech. U.