Good Morning Antarctica

Midnight sun over Antarctica

Last night the Rosetta spacecraft took this stunning image of Earth, showing the rosy crescent of the southern pole lit by the summer sun. (It’s nearing the height of summer in Antarctica, when the sun never fully sets for several months.) Click for a larger view.

Absolutely beautiful.

I rotated the image so that south is up, cropped it and extended the blackness of space a bit to the left and right. See the original release here, as well as an intriguing view of the nighttime lights of eastern North America as seen by Rosetta.

(Read more about the Rosetta mission on my previous post.)


For the first time in my life I saw the horizon as a curved line. It was accentuated by a thin seam of dark blue light—our atmosphere. Obviously this was not the ocean of air I had been told it was so many times in my life. I was terrified by its fragile appearance.

— Ulf Merbold, first ESA astronaut to fly in space

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  1. Kim says:

    That’s so beautiful!!! 🙂


  2. drdave says:


    Indeed they are stunning. Now, did we get the 1.1 millimeter per second of unexplained acceleration above what relativity predicts? It will be a couple weeks before we know. In our Space News section, I noted a recent article in the New Scientist about this. From the article: “The anomaly emerged in 1990, when NASA’s Galileo spacecraft whizzed by Earth to get a boost from our planet’s gravity and gained 3.9 millimetres per second more than expected. And the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft had an unexpected increase of about 1.8 millimetres per second during a previous fly-by of Earth in 2005.”


    1. J. Major says:

      I read that New Scientist article as well. I believe it was in the Physics section. Some of it went over my head, admittedly, but what I got out of it was that there is a speed increase that, if detected, will indicate some external force at play that is as-of-yet unknown, or at least unaccounted for.

      3.9 millimeters per second though…..that’s not an awful lot. Is it?


  3. Hosler says:

    Do you tweet and have a twitter account so I can follow you?


    1. J. Major says:

      I don’t have a Twitter account Hosler. I haven’t succumbed to the call of the latest social networking technology. But you can sign up for LITD posts to your email account, and become a Facebook fan as well for instant (well, kinda instant) updates there too. Posts here get linked onto FB soon after, and I will also post other interesting photos/articles I find onto the FB page too.

      I just don’t tweet. 😉


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