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.

2009 January 20
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Bonestell Panorama from Mars
Credit: Mars Exploration Rover Mission, Cornell, JPL, NASA

Explanation: If you could stand on Mars -- what could you see? One memorable vista might be the above 360-degree panoramic image taken by the robotic Spirit rover over the last year. The above image involved over 200 exposures and was released as part of Spirit's five year anniversary of landing on the red planet. The image was taken from the spot that Spirit stopped to spend the winter, near an unusual plateau called Home Plate. Visible on the annotated image are rocks, hills, peaks, ridges, plains inside Gusev crater, and previous tracks of the rolling Spirit rover. The image color has been closely matched to what a human would see, and named for the famous space artist Chesley Bonestell.

Tomorrow's picture: strange cloud

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