A Red Storm Boils over the Jovian PrairieS

It looks like somebody photoshopped the Canadian prairies inside the red gasses of Jupiter, but this is an actual picture, untouched, of Earth. It's a "shelf cloud" lit up by early-morning light. Photographed from the Trans-Canada highway in Saskatchewan, this shelf cloud was most likely the bleeding edge of a storm.

The photo, taken by Jeff Kerr, was the Astronomy Picture of the Day yesterday. It showcases why the shelf cloud is particularly menacing — not only does it presage a storm, but it's attached to another bank of clouds above it. So it's literally a gigantic wall of cloud leading a cold front. (Though it's not the same as a wall cloud, which trails a storm system rather than leading it.)

Also, this image shows off the amazing beauty of the Saskatchewan prairies and reminds me that sometimes Earth is the most alien-looking planet I know.