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.
2002 September 21
Explanation: During the Astro-1 astronomy mission of December, 1990, Space Shuttle astronauts photographed this stunning view of the setting full moon poised above the Earth's limb. In the foreground, towering clouds of condensing water vapour mark the extent of the troposphere, the lowest layer of the planet's life-sustaining atmosphere. Strongly scattering blue sunlight, the upper atmospheric layer, the stratosphere, fades dramatically to the black background of space. Moon and clouds are strong visual elements of many well known portraits of planet Earth, including Ansel Adams' famous "Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico", photographed in 1941.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.