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.

2010 January 23
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Eclipses in the Shade
Credit & Copyright: Stephan Heinsius

Explanation: Eclipses are everywhere in this shady scene. The picture was taken on the Indian Ocean atoll island of Ellaidhoo, Maldives, on January 15, during the longest annular solar eclipse for the next 1,000 years. Tall palm trees provided the shade. Their many crossed leaves created gaps that acted like pinhole cameras, scattering recognizable eclipse images across the white sands of a tropical garden near the beach. From this idyllic location near the centerline of the Moon's shadow track, the ring of fire or annular phase of the eclipse lasted about 10 minutes and 55 seconds.

Tomorrow's picture: spin jupiter

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