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 October 31
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

A Martian Halloween
Credit & Copyright: Wally Pacholka (

Explanation: From sunset to sunrise, an unusually bright yellowish orb will hang in the sky this Halloween: Mars. Yesterday, Earth passed Mars as they orbited the Sun, bringing Mars closer than it will be for the next thirteen years. Tonight though, Mars will be nearly as bright as last night, a beacon of extraterrestrial spookiness. Opposite the Sun, Mars will rise just when the Sun sets, set just when the Sun rises, and be visible the entire night. Mars will not always be the brightest object in tonight's sky, though. Brighter than even Mars, almost spooky Venus will light up the western horizon for a brief time just after sunset. Please have a safe and happy All Hallows Eve.

Tomorrow's picture: spaceship approaching

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