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 November 14
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Everest Panorama from Mars
Credit: Mars Exploration Rover Mission, Cornell, JPL, NASA

Explanation: If you could stand on Mars -- what might you see? Scroll right to find out. The robotic Spirit rover currently rolling across Mars climbed to the top of hill and took a series of images that were digitally combined into a 360 degree panorama over three days early last month. Spirit was instructed to take images having the same resolution as a human with 20-20 eyesight. The full panoramic result can be found by clicking on the above image and has a level of detail unparalleled in the history of Martian surface photography. The panorama was taken from the pinnacle of Husband Hill and has been dubbed the Everest panorama, in honor of the view from the tallest mountain on Earth. Visible in Gusev Crater are rocks, rusting sand, a Martian sundial, vast plains, nearby peaks, faraway peaks, and sand drifts. In the distance, fast moving dust devils can be seen as slight apparitions of red, green, or blue, the colors of filters used to build up this natural color vista.

Tomorrow's picture: unexpected fireballs

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