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.

2004 August 3
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
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Shadow of a Martian Robot
Credit: Mars Exploration Rover Mission, JPL, NASA

Explanation: What if you saw your shadow on Mars and it wasn't human? Then you might be the Opportunity rover currently exploring Mars. Opportunity and sister robot Spirit have been probing the red planet since January, finding evidence of ancient water, and sending breathtaking images across the inner Solar System. Pictured above, Opportunity looks opposite the Sun into Endurance Crater and sees its own shadow. Two wheels are visible on the lower left and right, while the floor and walls of the unusual crater are visible in the background. Opportunity is cautiously edging its way into this enigmatic crater, hoping to find new clues into the wet ancient past of our Solar System's second most habitable planet.

Tomorrow's picture: solar arcs and halos

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
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