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.
2020 January 10
Explanation: Vivid and lustrous, wafting iridescent waves of color filled this mountain and skyscape near Tanndalen, Sweden on January 3. Known as nacreous clouds or mother-of-pearl clouds, they are rare. This northern winter season they have been making unforgettable appearances at high latitudes, though. A type of polar stratospheric cloud, they form when unusually cold temperatures in the usually cloudless lower stratosphere form ice crystals. Still sunlit at altitudes of around 15 to 25 kilometers the clouds can diffract sunlight after sunset and before the dawn.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.