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.

2013 February 5
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Mars: Shadow at Point Lake
Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, MSSS, Mastcam

Explanation: What if you saw your shadow on Mars and it wasn't human? Then you might be the robotic Curiosity rover currently exploring Mars. Curiosity landed in Gale Crater last August and has been busy looking for signs of ancient running water and clues that Mars could once have harbored life. Pictured above, Curiosity has taken a wide panorama that includes its own shadow in the direction opposite the Sun. The image was taken in November from a location dubbed Point Lake, although no water presently exists there. Curiosity has already discovered several indications of dried streambeds on Mars, and is scheduled to continue its exploration by climbing nearby Mt. Sharp over the next few years.

Tomorrow's picture: the arms of M106

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