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Album: The Sun

The Sun

Meteor Crater (also known as Barringer Crater) in Arizona is only 50,000 years old. Even so, it's unusually well preserved in the arid climate of the Colorado Plateau. Meteor Crater formed from the impact of an iron-nickel asteroid about 46 meters (150 feet) across. Most of the asteroid melted or vaporized on impact. The collision initially formed a crater over 1,200 meters (4,000) feet across and 210 meters (700 feet) deep. Subsequent erosion has partially filled the crater, which is now only 150 meters (550 feet) deep. Layers of exposed limestone and sandstone are visible just beneath the crater rim, as are large stone blocks excavated by the impact. [Image & Caption Credit: USGS]

Aurora Australis: 

Red and green colors predominate in this view of the Aurora Australis photographed from the Space Shuttle in May 1991. The payload bay and tail of the Shuttle can be seen on the left hand side of the picture. Auroras are caused when high-energy electrons pour down from the Earth's magnetosphere and collide with atoms. Red aurora occurs from 200 km to as high as 500 km altitude and is caused by the emission of 6300 Angstrom wavelength light from oxygen atoms. Green aurora occurs from about 100 km to 250 km altitude and is caused by the emission of 5577 Angstrom wavelength light from oxygen atoms. The light is emitted when the atoms return to their original unexcited state. Image Credit: NASA