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.

2007 April 28
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Young Moon and Sister Stars
Credit & Copyright: Pete Lawrence (Digital-Astronomy)

Explanation: A young crescent Moon shared the western sky with thin clouds and the sister stars of the Pleiades cluster in this early evening skyscape recorded on April 19th. Astronomical images of the well-known Pleiades often show the star cluster's alluring blue reflection nebulae, but they are washed-out here in the clouds and bright moonlight. While the 3-day old Moon is overexposed, surface features can be seen on the dim lunar night side, illuminated by earthshine - light from sunlit planet Earth. Only a week earlier, brilliant Venus also posed near the sister stars. Of course, Venus has not yet wandered too far from the Pleiades and still rules western skies as the evening star.

Tomorrow's picture: big, bright, bug

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