Monday, February 25, 2008

Above the Storm

"The afternoon sky darkened. Grey clouds billowed to the heavens. Thunder shook the ground and lightning danced overhead. The first droplets of heavy rain were just hitting the ground when the spaceship flew by....

This really happened on Feb. 5th when the International Space Station (ISS) flew over western Africa during an afternoon thunderstorm in Mali:

Orbiting Earth 200 miles high at a speed of 17,000 mph, astronauts took the picture using a Nikon D2Xs peering through one of the space station's many windows. It shows an enormous anvil cloud. Anvil clouds form in the tops of thunderstorms 5 to 10 miles high and consist mainly of ice. They get their anvil shape from the fact that the rising air in thunderstorms expands and spreads out as the air bumps up against the bottom of the stratosphere. There's no new science or meteorology in this photo--just a shot of rare beauty."

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