Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2000 September 23
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

The Equal Night
Credit: STS-68 Crew, NASA

Explanation: Yesterday the Sun crossed the celestial equator heading south, marking the Equinox -- the first day of Autumn in the northern hemisphere and Spring in the south. Equinox means equal night and with the Sun on the celestial equator, Earthlings will experience 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. For those in the northern hemisphere, the days will continue to grow shorter with the Sun marching lower in the sky as winter approaches. A few weeks after the Autumnal Equinox of 1994, the Crew of the Shuttle Endeavor recorded this image of the Sun poised above the Earth's limb. Glare illuminates Endeavor's vertical tail (pointing toward the Earth) along with radar equipment in the payload bay.

Tomorrow's picture: Eagle's EGGs

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.