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 October 30
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
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Pumpkin Moon
Credit & Copyright: Sebastien Gauthier

Explanation: Does this look familiar? Red and orange hues haunting the face of the Moon should remind you of the October 27th total lunar eclipse. Created from exposures taken at intervals of 8.5 minutes during the total eclipse phase, the midpoint of the eclipse corresponds to the central exposure. The play of light across the lunar surface nicely demonstrates that the Earth's shadow is not uniformly dark as it extends into space. In fact, lunar maria and montes are still visible in the dimmed, reddened sunlight scattered into the cone-shaped shadow region, or umbra, by the atmosphere. Still, while processing the pictures into this composite image, astronomer Sebastien Gauthier was reminded of another haunting orange face. Have a safe and happy Halloween!

Tomorrow's picture: ghost nebula

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