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.
2018 December 4
Explanation: What's happening between those mountains? A rocket is being launched to space. Specifically, a Long March 3B Carrier Rocket was launched from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan Province in China about two week ago. The rocket lifted two navigation satellites to about 2,000 kilometres above the Earth's surface, well above the orbit of the International Space Station, but well below the orbit of geostationary satellites. China's Chang'e 3 mission that landed the robotic Yutu rover on the Moon was launched from Xichang in 2013. The featured image was taken about 10 kilometres from the launch site and is actually a composite of nine exposures, including a separate background image.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.