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

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.

Presented by

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

Never Tell a Person How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

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

Never Tell a Person How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

More in Technology

Just In