America

Photo Break: Hollywood Couldn't Have Done It Better

A swirling thunderstorm in Montana.

hide captionHeavenly and earthly, both at the same time.

Sean R. Heavey

This is what I found when I wandered over to NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day page looking for some astounding galactic image to post. I was, of course, expecting to see something like the Flame Nebula, the Iris Nebula or the center of Centaurus A. Instead, I got Montana.

But what a photo it is. NASA explains:

Is that a spaceship or a cloud? Although it may seem like an alien mothership, it's actually a impressive thunderstorm cloud called a supercell. Such colossal storm systems center onmesocyclones — rotating updrafts that can span several kilometers and deliver torrential rain and high winds including tornadoes. Jagged sculptured clouds adorn the supercell's edge, while wind swept dust and rain dominate the center. A tree waits patiently in the foreground. The above supercell cloud was photographed in July west of GlasgowMontanaUSA, caused minor damage, and lasted several hours before moving on.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: