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 March 22
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Martian Chiaroscuro
Image Credit: HiRISE, MRO, LPL (U. Arizona), NASA

Explanation: Deep shadows create dramatic contrasts between light and dark in this high-resolution close-up of the martian surface. Recorded on January 24 by the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the scene spans about 1.5 kilometers across a sand dune field in a southern highlands crater. Captured when the Sun was just 5 degrees above the local horizon, only the dune crests are caught in full sunlight. With the long, cold winter approaching the red planet's southern hemisphere, bright ridges of seasonal frost line the martian dunes.

Tomorrow's picture: black hole swirl

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