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.

February 4, 1998
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A Passing Spaceship Views Earth
Credit: NEAR Spacecraft Team, JHUAPL, NASA

Explanation: This is how Earth appeared to the passing spacecraft NEAR. The Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous (NEAR) spacecraft was launched from Florida, USA, planet Earth in 1996. After a quick flyby of asteroid Mathilde in June last year, NEAR passed the Earth two weeks ago on its way to asteroid 433 Eros. Visible on the above representative-color picture is the western part of Earth's Southern Hemisphere. Prominent features include the white snow-covered Antarctica and swirling and extended cloud systems. Oceans appear blue and part of South America is visible on the right.

Tomorrow's picture: Down By The River

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