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 September 24
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Equinox and the Harvest Moon
Image Credit & Copyright: Tamás Ábrahám

Explanation: Did you enjoy the moonlight last night? The Full Moon closest to autumnal equinox and the beginning of Fall is traditionally known as the Harvest Moon, rising opposite the Sun and illuminating fields at harvest time after sunset. This year's northern hemisphere autumnal equinox occurred yesterday, September 23rd, at 03:09 Universal Time. The Moon was at its full phase a mere 6 hours later -- exceptionally close for a Harvest Moon! Of course, the Moon still shines brightly through the night in surrounding days. In this picture from September 22nd, the lunar orb dominates the sky above a ruined church in Zsámbék, Hungary. Shining nearby, the brightest star is actually Jupiter, also opposite the Sun, seen here through thin clouds just left of the church wall.

Tomorrow's picture: from the Heart

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