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Posted by Specola

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day:

These clouds are doubly unusual. First, they are rare noctilucent clouds, meaning that they are visible at night -- but only just before sunrise or just after sunset. Second, the source of these noctilucent clouds is actually known. In this rare case, the source of the sunlight-reflecting ice-crystals in the upper atmosphere can be traced back to the launch of a nearby SpaceX rocket about 30 minutes earlier. Known more formally as polar mesospheric clouds, the vertex of these icy wisps happens to converge just in front of a rising crescent Moon. The featured image -- and accompanying video -- were captured over Orlando, Florida, USA about a week ago. The bright spot to the right of the Moon is the planet Jupiter, while the dotted lights above the horizon on the right are from an airplane.

Photo by Pascal Fouquet

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