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 April 8
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

The Big Corona
Credit & Copyright: Fred Espenak (NASA/GSFC)

Explanation: Most photographs don't adequately portray the magnificence of the Sun's corona. Seeing the corona first-hand during a total solar eclipse is best. The human eye can adapt to see features and extent that photographic film usually cannot. Welcome, however, to the digital age. The above picture is a combination of twenty-two photographs that were digitally processed to highlight faint features of a total eclipe that occurred in August of 1999. The outer pictures of the Sun's corona were digitally altered to enhance dim, outlying waves and filaments. The inner pictures of the usually dark Moon were enhanced to bring out its faint glow from doubly reflected sunlight. Shadow seekers need not fret, though, since as yet there is no way that digital image processing can mimic the fun involved in experiencing a total solar eclipse. The next total solar eclipse will be visible from parts of Africa on June 21.

Tomorrow's picture: Blast Off to Mars

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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.