Talk about being in the right place at the right time: During his time on the International Space Station in 2006, NASA astronaut Jeff Williams happened to notice that a dark cloud was sprouting from Cleveland Volcano in the Aleutian Islands. He snapped this photograph of the ash cloud from space -- and also notified the Alaska Volcano Observatory that an eruption was in progress. A fog bank is draped around the volcano at upper right, and part of Carlisle Island is visible at upper right. The spectacle was short-lived: Two hours after Williams spotted the cloud, the ash stopped spewing. This picture from NASA's Aqua satellite, taken the next day, shows the cloud dissipating.
Cleveland Volcano is one of the best-known and most active rumblers in the Aleutian chain. It's part of a cluster of summits called the Islands of the Four Mountains. Here's another picture of the islands, captured by the Terra satellite in 2007, and yet another view from this year.
We're presenting these views as today's holiday treats from the Cosmic Log Space Advent Calendar. Every day until Christmas, you can look forward to another image of Earth as seen from space. Here are the previous pictures in the set, as well as links to three other Advent calendars with space themes:
- The Cosmic Log Space Advent Calendar so far
- Door 1 for Dec. 1: Shuttle in spotlight
- Door 2 for Dec. 2: 'Alien' lake seen from space
- Door 3 for Dec. 3: Egypt's river of light
- Door 4 for Dec. 4: Tallest building reaches for the sky
- Door 5 for Dec. 5: Russia's dazzling delta
- Door 6 for Dec. 6: Space skipper vs. the world
- Door 7 for Dec. 7: Pearl Harbor from the heavens
- Door 8 for Dec. 8: Listening for E.T.
- Door 9 for Dec. 9: Blast from the past
- The Big Picture at Boston.com: Hubble Advent calendar
- Planetary Society: Solar system Advent calendar
- Zooniverse Advent calendar
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