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 August 3
See Explanation.
Moving the cursor over the image will bring up an annotated version.
Clicking on the image will bring up the highest resolution version

The Planet and the Radio Dish
Credit & Copyright: Alex Cherney (Terrastro)

Explanation: What planet is this? Although seemingly something out of The Little Prince, the planet is actually Earth. More specifically, it is a small part of the Earth incorporated into a four image stereographic "Little Planet " projection. The central fisheye image points down, while the surrounding wide-angle images were taken at a 30 degree tilt and added digitally later. Earth-anchored items surrounding the image center include green grass, dark shadows, and trees near and far. At the image top ("noon" if the planet were a clock) is the well-lit Parkes Radio Telescope dish in New South Wales, Australia. The surrounding sky contains many jewels of the night including the Moon at 9 pm, the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy at 1:30 pm and 7 pm, and the Small Magellanic Cloud galaxy at 5 pm. A full field interactive version of this scene can be found here.

Tomorrow's picture: corridor of shadow

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