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.

2012 March 7
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
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Conjunction Over Reunion Island
Image Credit & Copyright: Luc Perrot

Explanation: You don't have to be on Reunion Island to see this week's planetary conjunction. Only if you want to see this picturesque seascape as well. To see the conjunction from just about anywhere in the world, look to the west after sunset. The first planet you may notice is Venus, the brightest object in the western sky. Above Venus, the second brightest object is Jupiter. The hardest planet to spot is Mercury, which is visible only briefly after sunset as a faint dot just above the horizon. Picturesque rocks leading out from Reunion Island to the Indian Ocean populate the foreground of the above picture. Taken last week, the distant planets Venus and Jupiter were joined by a bright crescent Moon, which has now moved away.

Students (of all ages): See free astronomy lectures online
Tomorrow's picture: big bird

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