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 July 12
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
the highest resolution version available.

A Cosmic Call to Nearby Stars
Credit & Copyright: Yuvan Dutil & Stephane Dumas

Explanation: If Earth received this message from deep space, could we decode it? The people from the Cosmic Call project sent the above image as the first page of a longer message. The message was broadcast toward local stars by radio telescope during the summer of 1999. Another message was sent in 2003. The single-dish, 70-meter diameter telescope that send the messages is located in Ukraine on the Crimean peninsula near the town of Yevpatoria. This first page of the Cosmic Call 1999 message, shown above, involves only numbers and so is easier for puzzle solvers to decode than a more famous message broadcast toward distant star cluster M13 in 1974. (The solution is here.)

Tomorrow's picture: red hot island

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