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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 February 26
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Moon, Mercury, Jupiter, Mars
Credit & Copyright: Mike Salway

Explanation: When the Moon rose in predawn skies on February 23rd, it sported a sunlit crescent. It also offered early morning risers a tantalizing view of earthshine, the dark portion of the lunar disk illuminated by sunlight reflected from the Earth. Of course, on that morning a remarkable conjunction with three wandering planets added an impressive touch to the celestial scene. Recorded just before sunrise, this serene skyview looks east toward a glowing horizon across Tuggerah Lake on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Along with the waning crescent Moon, the picture captures (top to bottom) bright Mercury, Jupiter, and Mars.


Tomorrow's picture: the Saturn connection


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