Picture of the Day: Polar 'Night-Shining' Clouds

More

7442252090_5e08394a2d_b.jpg

Meteor dust, global warming, and even rocket exhaust: they've all been suggested as causes of the clouds pictured above. The clouds are called polar mesopheric clouds, and they appear near each pole during its late spring and early summer, the sun illuminating them at late twilight from below the horizon (which is why they're also called "noctilucent" or "night-shining"). The International Space Station took this picture as it passed over the Tibetan Plateau about two weeks ago. Earlier this month, it took the first picture of mesopheric clouds from space as it traveled past Western Asia. The clouds can also be seen from the ground and flying planes.

Below, recent Pictures of the Day:

Image: NASA.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Robinson Meyer is an associate editor at The Atlantic, where he covers technology.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Is the Greatest Story Ever Told?

A panel of storytellers share their favorite tales, from the Bible to Charlotte's Web.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In