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 21
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
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Sharp Silhouette
Credit & Copyright: Thierry Legault

Explanation: Though it's 93 million miles away, the Sun still hurts your eyes when you look at it. But bright sunlight (along with accurate planning and proper equipment!) resulted in this sharp silhouette of spaceship and space station. The amazing telescopic view, recorded on September 17, captures shuttle orbiter Atlantis and the International Space Station in orbit over planet Earth. At a range of 550 kilometers from the observing site near Mamers, Normandy, France, Atlantis (left) has just undocked and moved about 200 meters away from the space station. Tomorrow, yet another satellite of planet Earth can be seen in silhouette - the Moon will eclipse the Sun. This last eclipse of 2006 will be seen as an annular solar eclipse along a track that crosses northern South America and the south Atlantic.

Tomorrow's picture: pixels in space

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
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