SPACE PHOTOS THIS WEEK: Moon Crash, Galaxy Merger, More

SPACE PHOTOS THIS WEEK: Moon Crash, Galaxy Merger, More
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October 10, 2009Slinking through ocean cloud cover, snake-like trails form above the sea off the U.S. Pacific Northwest coast in an image taken by NASA's Terra satellite on October 5 and released on October 10.

Though they resemble jet contrails, the serpentine clouds were created when water molecules condensed around exhaust expelled by ships at sea. Left to their own devices, clouds over the ocean tend to form vast, flat sheets, because open-ocean air is relatively lacking in particles, such as dust or smog, that seed more concentrated clouds.

(Also see "Airplane Contrails Boost Global Warming, Study Suggests.")
—Image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC
 
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