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.

October 24, 1998
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

The Sun Also Rises
Credit: STS-47 Crew, NASA

Explanation: Sunrise seen from low Earth orbit by the shuttle astronauts can be very dramatic indeed ( and the authors apologize to Hemingway for using his title!). In this breathtaking view, the Sun is just visible peaking over towering anvil-shaped storm clouds whose silhouetted tops mark the upper boundary of the troposphere, the lowest layer of planet Earth's atmosphere. Sunlight filtering through suspended dust causes this dense layer of air to appear red. In contrast, the blue stripe marks the stratosphere, the tenuous upper atmosphere, which preferentially scatters blue light.

Tomorrow's picture: The Pleiades Star Cluster

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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.