Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day we feature a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

August 12, 1995
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Atlantis Landing
Credit: NASA, Kennedy Space Center

Explanation: Space Shuttle Atlantis lands at Edwards Air Force Base in California. The Space Shuttle is the first orbital space vehicle to land on a runway like an airplane. Space Shuttles sometimes have the option of landing in White Sands, New Mexico or at the Shuttle Landing Facility at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The runways the shuttles land on are among the longest in the world. Shuttles that do not land in Florida must generally be strapped to the back of a 747 airplane and flown back.

Tomorrow's picture: The Sun Flares

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Astronomy Picture of the Day (TM) is created by Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell who are solely responsible for its content. Text copyright 1995 by Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell.