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 July 23
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Two Views of Earth
Image Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA & NASA/JHU Applied Physics Lab/Carnegie Inst. Washington

Explanation: In a cross-Solar System interplanetary first, our Earth was photographed during the same day from both Mercury and Saturn. Pictured on the left, Earth is the pale blue dot just below the rings of Saturn, as captured by the robotic Cassini spacecraft now orbiting the gas giant. Pictured on the right, the Earth-Moon system is seen against a dark background, as captured by the robotic MESSENGER spacecraft now orbiting Mercury. In the MESSENGER image, the Earth (left) and Moon (right) shine brightly with reflected sunlight. MESSENGER took the overexposed image last Friday as part of a search for small natural satellites of the innermost planet, moons that would be expected to be quite dim. During this same day, humans across planet Earth snapped many of their own pictures of Saturn.

Tomorrow's picture: a year in a day

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