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 July 14
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Easter Island Eclipse
Credit & Copyright: Stéphane Guisard (Los Cielos de America), TWAN

Explanation: Makemake, a god in Easter Island mythology, may have smiled for a moment as clouds parted long enough to reveal this glimpse of July 11's total solar eclipse to skygazers. In the foreground of the dramatic scene, the island's famous large, monolithic statues (Moai) share a beachside view of the shimmering solar corona and the darkened daytime sky. Other opportunities to see the total phase of this eclipse of the Sun were also hard to come by. Defined by the dark part of the Moon's shadow, the path of totality tracked eastward across the southern Pacific Ocean, only making significant landfall at Mangaia (Cook Islands) and Easter Island (Isla de Pascua), ending shortly after reaching southern Chile and Argentina. But a partial eclipse phase could be enjoyed over a broader region, including many southern Pacific islands and wide swath of South America.

Tomorrow's picture: over the Andes

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