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 September 1
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On a Blue Moon
Image Credit & Copyright: Simon Smith

Explanation: Rising at sunset, the gorgeous Full Moon of August 31 became the second Full Moon in a month. According to modern reckoning, that makes it a Blue Moon. In fact, parts of the Full Moon do look a little blue in this sharp lunar portrait. Taken just hours before the exact full phase in delightfully clear skies over Nottingham, UK, it features eye-catching bright rays extending from the prominent young crater Tycho in the Moon's southern hemisphere. The slightly color enhanced image also brings out subtle shades of blue, a real characteristic of terrain with a high content of titanium oxide and iron. The blue lunar terrain on the right includes the dark flat expanse of the Sea of Tranquility and the Apollo 11 landing site.

Gallery: Blue Moon
Tomorrow's picture: on an Atlas rocket

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