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 July 28
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Trails in the Morning Sky
Image Credit & Copyright: Stefan Seip (TWAN)

Explanation: Brilliant Venus and bright Jupiter still rise together before dawn. The peaceful waters by a small lakeside house near Stuttgart, Germany reflect their graceful arcing trails in this composited series of exposures, recorded on the morning of July 26. A reflection of planet Earth's rotation on its axis, the concentric trails of these celestial beacons along with trails of stars are punctuated at their ends by a separate final frame in the morning skyview. Easy to pick out, Venus is brightest and near the trees close to the horizon. Jupiter arcs above it, toward the center of the image along with the compact Pleiades star cluster and V-shaped Hyades anchored by bright star Aldebaran. One trail looks wrong, though. Not concentric with the others and so not a reflection of Earth's rotation, the International Space Station streaks off the right side of this scene, glinting in sunlight as it orbits planet Earth.

Tomorrow's picture: new star cluster

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