There will be a network outage, Sunday, April 26 from 13:00 EDT - Monday April 27 01:00 EDT. All services, web sites, and systems that require access to the internet will be affected by this work.

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.

2009 February 15
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Antarctic Ice Shelf Vista
Credit & Copyright: Helmut Rott (U. Innsbruck)

Explanation: It's all gone but the mountains. Most of the sprawling landscape of ice that lies between the mountains visible above has now disintegrated. The above picture was taken in Antarctica from the top of Grey Nunatak, one of three Seal Nunatak mountains that border the Larsen B Ice-Shelf. The other two nunataks are visible in the picture taken in 1994. Over the past several years large chunks of the 200-meter thick Larsen B Ice-Shelf have been breaking off and disintegrating. The cause is the local high temperatures of recent years, part of a planet wide climate change called global warming. Over the past few years, the area that has disintegrated is roughly the size of Luxembourg. As ice-shelves break up, they unblock other ice sheets that fall onto the ocean, raising sea levels everywhere. Scientists are watching the much-larger Ross Ice Shelf, which, if it fully collapses, could cause global sea levels to rise five meters over the next few hundred years.


Tomorrow's picture: great carina


< | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | RSS | Education | About APOD | Discuss | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
NASA Web Privacy Policy and Important Notices
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.