Astronomy Picture of the Day

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.

2000 January 31
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

Snowstorm on Planet Earth
Credit : SeaWiFS Project, GSFC, NASA

Explanation: Earth is an ocean planet. From low Earth orbit, the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor (SeaWiFS) instrument onboard NASA's SeaStar spacecraft globally maps ocean color, tracking changes in the climate and biosphere of our water world. Richly detailed SeaWiFS images can also follow color changes in Earth's landmasses as illustrated in this close-up picture of the planet. Taken on January 27, it covers the Great Lakes region and Atlantic coastal areas of the North American continent. The space-based perspective splendidly reveals the extent of fractal white seasonal solid phase H20 recently sprinkled over the Northeastern and Midatlantic US. Unanticipated and intense, the snowstorm delighted school children but caused serious disruptions in many locales.

Tomorrow's picture: A Galaxy Cluster Lens

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.