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.

2005 April 14
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April's Moon and the Pleiades
Credit & Copyright: Jerry Lodriguss (Catching the Light)

Explanation: After parting with the Sun late last week, April's moon graced the early evening sky. Its slender, three-day-old crescent shares this lovely telescopic skyview with the nearby Pleiades star cluster. Here, the Moon's sunlit crescent is overexposed while the lunar terminator, or boundary between lunar night and day, is jagged with craters and mountains. Lunar surface features can also be seen in the dim lunar night illuminated by earthshine - light from sunlit planet Earth. The sister stars of the Pleiades are grouped at the right, but their alluring blue reflection nebulae, usually highlighted in telescopic images of the cluster, are washed-out in the much brighter moonlight.

Tomorrow's picture: stars in a bubble

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