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.

December 25, 1996
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

An Earth Ornament
The Clementine Project, U.S. Geological Survey

Explanation: The Apollo 8 astronauts spent the 1968 Christmas Season in lunar orbit, returning with striking images of the Moon and Earth from space which inspired the world. While in lunar orbit in 1994, the prospecting Clementine spacecraft also turned its cameras toward the home world - the result was this mosaic of 70 high resolution images of our planet from a cosmic perspective. The swirling clouds and dramatic colors give the Earth the appearance of a delicate, painted ornament hanging in space. Best Wishes and Seasons Greetings!

Tomorrow's picture: Carl Sagan 1934-1996

< Archive | Index | Search | Glossary | Education | About APOD >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC