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.

2001 January 18
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2001: A Total Lunar Eclipse
Credit: Tunc Tezel

Explanation: The first and only total lunar eclipse for the year 2001 occured on the evening of January 9/10 as the full Moon glided through Earth's shadow. Unlike a total solar eclipse, a total lunar eclipse is visible for anyone on the night side of the planet during the event. The night side for this geocentric celestial event included Europe, Asia, and Africa where the Moon could be seen immersed in the umbra or dark portion of Earth's shadow for about 62 minutes as it passed just north of the shadow's center. This dramatic telescopic photo of the eclipsed Moon was made near Ankara, Turkey close to the time of midpoint of the total phase. The fact that the northern (top) portion of the eclipsed Moon is clearly brighter, even near mid-totality, demonstrates that Earth's shadow is not uniformly dark.

Tomorrow's picture: Black Holes Are Black

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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.