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.

2010 May 26

Clouds and Stars over Cotopaxi Volcano in Ecuador
Credit & Copyright: Stéphane Guisard (Los Cielos de America), TWAN

Explanation: What's happening above the Cotopaxi volcano in Ecuador? Quite a bit, from the looks of the above one-night, time-lapse movie, taken earlier this month. The majestic volcano is first seen through breaks in fast moving clouds as the movie begins. Soon the clouds have dissipated and a sky filled with stars seems to rotate about the snow-peaked volcano's peak. The band of our Milky Way Galaxy, the dark Coal Sack nebula, and the Southern Cross can all be seen overhead. Satellites streak by from several directions. Soon thin clouds roll by and seem to make the brightest stars sparkle. On the volcano (starting at about 1:13 of the movie), the lights of climbers flash. Near the end of the movie, a bright airplane passes over the peak with a residual trail seen drifting away.

Tomorrow's picture: modestly great

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