Tag Archives: skyscape

Moonbow Beach 

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Image Credit & Copyright: Rogelio Bernal Andreo (Deep Sky Colors)

 Like a rainbow at night, a beautiful moonbow shines above the western horizon in this deserted beach scene from Molokai Island, Hawaii, USA, planet Earth. Captured last June 17 in early morning hours, the lights along the horizon are from Honolulu and cities on the island of Oahu some 30 miles away. So where was the Moon? A rainbow is produced by sunlight internally reflected in rain drops from the direction opposite the Sun back toward the observer. As the light passes from air to water and back to air again, longer wavelengths are refracted (bent) less than shorter ones resulting in the separation of colors. And so the moonbow is produced as raindrops reflect moonlight from the direction opposite the Moon. That puts the Moon directly behind the photographer, still low and rising over the eastern horizon, a few days past its full phase.

APOD NASA 06-Sep-14

Airglow Ripples over Tibet 

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Image Credit & Copyright: Jeff Dai

 Why would the sky look like a giant target? Airglow. Following a giant thunderstorm over Bangladesh in late April, giant circular ripples of glowing air appeared over Tibet, China, as pictured above. The unusual pattern is created by atmospheric gravity waves, waves of alternating air pressure that can grow with height as the air thins, in this case about 90 kilometers up. Unlike auroras powered by collisions with energetic charged particles and seen at high latitudes, airglow is due to chemiluminescence, the production of light in a chemical reaction. More typically seen near the horizon, airglow keeps the night sky from ever being completely dark.

APOD NASA 01-Sep-14

Jupiter and Venus from Earth 

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Image Credit: Marek Nikodem (PPSAE)

 It was visible around the world. The sunset conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in 2012 was visible almost no matter where you lived on Earth. Anyone on the planet with a clear western horizon at sunset could see them. Pictured above in 2012, a creative photographer traveled away from the town lights of Szubin, Poland to image a near closest approach of the two planets. The bright planets were separated only by three degreesand his daughter striking a humorous pose. A faint red sunset still glowed in the background. Early tomorrow (Monday) morning, the two planets will pass even closer – only 0.2 degrees apart as visible from some locations – just before sunrise.

APOD NASA 17-Aug-14

Tetons and Snake River, Planet Earth 

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Image Credit & Copyright: Babak Tafreshi (TWAN)

 An alluring night skyscape, this scene looks west across the Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, USA, Planet Earth. The Snake River glides through the foreground, while above the Tetons’ rugged mountain peaks the starry sky is laced with exceptionally strong red and green airglow. That night, the luminous atmospheric glow was just faintly visible to the eye, its color and wavey structure captured only by a sensitive digital camera. In fact, this contemporary digital photograph matches the location and perspective of a well-known photograph from 1942 – The Tetons and The Snake River , by Ansel Adams, renown photographer of the American West. Adams’ image is one of 115 images stored on the Voyager Golden Record. Humanity’s message in a bottle, golden records were on board both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 spacecraft, launched in 1977 and now headed toward interstellar space.

APOD NASA 01-Aug-2014