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.

2002 April 29
See Explanation.  Rolling mouse over image will bring up 
an annotated version.  No higher 
resolution version is available today.
Dusk of the Planets
Credit & Copyright: Jerry Lodriguss

Explanation: A great grouping of planets is now visible to the west just after sunset. Over the next two weeks, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn -- the innermost six planets of our Solar System -- can be seen in a single knowing glance. The image on the left captured them all in one frame. Connecting the planetary dots delineates the edge-on ecliptic, the plane in which the planets orbit the Sun. The shot was taken on April 23 near Chatsworth, New Jersey, USA, and even includes scattered light from the Sun and the Moon. Besides the planets, the Pleiades and Hyades open clusters of stars are visible.

Tomorrow's picture: More than 1000 Words (Usually)

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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.