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.

2006 September 9
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Shadow Play
Credit & Copyright: Laurent Laveder (

Explanation: During September 7th's lunar eclipse, the Moon slid through the Earth's shadow. Extending into space, Earth's cone-shaped shadow has two distinct parts, the lighter, outer part or penumbra, and the darker, inner shadow called the umbra. For this eclipse, the lunar disk just grazed the shadow's dark inner umbra. As a result, only a small part of the Moon was noticeably eclipsed, but the performance still attracted the attention of Moon watchers along the Earth's night side. In this creative scene, eclipse enthusiasts have matched the curve of a hoop to the eclipsed portion of the Moon - demonstrating the apparent size and position of the lunar disk relative to the umbra and penumbra. Of course, it's only shadow play.

Tomorrow's picture: young and old

< | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | Glossary | Education | About APOD | Discuss | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: EUD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.