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.

2011 March 10
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
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Discovery in Twilight
Image Credit & Copyright: Tamas Ladanyi (TWAN)

Explanation: As evening twilight faded on March 7, sky gazers around planet Earth enjoyed a beautiful pairing of young crescent Moon and brilliant planet Jupiter. Along with stars setting in the west, the two bright celestial beacons, Moon above and Jupiter below, leave short trails in this well-planned time exposure, a composite of 54 individual frames each 4 seconds long. On its final flight, the Space Shuttle Discovery and International Space Station form the second close pairing in the night skyscape. Still glinting in the sunlight in low Earth orbit, they gracefully trace overlapping arcs from lower right to upper left. Moon, Jupiter, Discovery, and ISS are reflected in the calm waters of Lake Bakonybél, Hungary. Want to see the sequence of frames as a short youtube video? Check it out here. In the video, the trails of the ISS and Discovery are seen to separate as the pair passes above the Moon.

Tomorrow's picture: pixels in space

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