Photo of the day

From a National Geographic collection of space photographs:

A picture of polar clouds in darkness

Night-Shining Clouds

Photograph courtesy NASA

These luminous blue clouds at the edge of space are called polar mesosphericclouds, or noctilucent clouds. Formed between 47 to 53 miles (76 to 85 kilometers) up in the atmosphere, they’re most visible during late spring and early summer in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

They get their blue glow when the sun dips below the horizon, shrouding the ground in darkness but giving off enough illumination to light up the clouds. The yellow-orange band at the bottom of the blue layer is the stratosphere.

This picture, released January 21, was taken by the crew of the International Space Station as they passed over the Pacific Ocean south of French Polynesia (map).

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

One Response to Photo of the day

  1. Deborah Ferry says:

    Beautiful Picture!

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