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Photo of Polar Mesospheric Clouds

 Stock Photo by NASA Public Domain

 Image Number: 0124-1009-1013-2139

Photo of Polar Mesospheric Clouds
Polar Mesospheric Clouds.

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  • Stock Photo Description: Polar mesospheric clouds photo. This stock photo by NASA Public Domain shows polar mesospheric clouds.

    The Expedition 24 crew on the International Space Station photographed this image of polar mesospheric clouds illuminated by an orbital sunrise. Polar mesospheric, or noctilucent ("night shining"), clouds usually are seen at twilight, following the setting of the sun below the horizon and darkening of Earth's surface. Occasionally the station's orbital track becomes nearly parallel to Earth's day/night terminator for a time, allowing the clouds to be visible to the crew at times other than the usual twilight because of the station's altitude.

    This photograph shows polar mesospheric clouds illuminated by the rising, rather than setting, sun at center right. Low clouds on the horizon appear yellow and orange, while higher clouds and aerosols are illuminated a brilliant white. Polar mesospheric clouds appear as light blue ribbons extending across the top of the image. The station was located over the Greek island of Kos in the Aegean Sea (near the southwestern coastline of Turkey) when the image was taken at approximately midnight local time. The orbital complex was tracking northeastward, nearly parallel to the terminator, making it possible to observe an apparent "sunrise" located almost due north. A similar unusual alignment of the ISS orbit track, terminator position and seasonal position of Earth's orbit around the sun allowed for this striking imagery of over the Southern Hemisphere.

    Image Credit: NASA

    Image courtesy of NASA. NASA images are in the public domain and may be used for free, however certain restrictions may apply. This public domain image may not be used in any way suggesting approval or endorsement of any people appearing in the photos. Please read the NASA guidelines for use for more information and info about using the NASA insignia logo and other intellectual property that may appear in these NASA public domain images.

    Stock photography by NASA Public Domain

    Copyright: United States Government Works

    • Model Release: No

    • Property Release: No

    * This is a public domain image

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    Photo of Polar Mesospheric Clouds

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