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.

2003 March 15
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
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Apollo 12: Self-Portrait
Credit: Charles Conrad, Apollo 12, NASA

Explanation: Is it art? In November of 1969, Apollo 12 astronaut-photographer Charles "Pete" Conrad recorded this masterpiece while documenting colleague Alan Bean's lunar soil collection activities on the Oceanus Procellarum. The image is dramatic and stark. Bean is faceless. The harsh environment of the Moon's Ocean of Storms is echoed in his helmet's perfectly composed reflection of Conrad and the lunar horizon. Works of photojournalists originally intent on recording the human condition on planet Earth, such as Lewis W. Hine's images from New York City in the early 20th century, or Margaret Bourke-White's magazine photography are widely regarded as art. Similarly many documentary astronomy and space images can be appreciated for their artistic and esthetic appeal.

Tomorrow's picture: The Sculptor Galaxy

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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
& NASA SEU Edu. Forum
& Michigan Tech. U.