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.

2014 February 27
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Daytime Moon Meets Morning Star
Image Credit & Copyright: Cui Yongjiang and Shi Zexing

Explanation: Venus now appears as planet Earth's brilliant morning star standing above the eastern horizon before dawn. For most, the silvery celestial beacon rose in a close pairing with an old crescent Moon on February 26. But seen from locations in western Africa before sunrise, the lunar crescent actually occulted or passed in front of Venus, also in a crescent phase. Farther to the east, the occultation occurred during daylight hours. In fact, this telescopic snapshot of the dueling crescents was captured just before the occultation began under an afternoon's crystal clear skies from Yunnan Province, China. The unforgettable scene was easily visible to the naked eye in broad daylight.

Tomorrow's picture: a one-sided night

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