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 April 2
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Mars Red and Spica Blue
Image Credit & Copyright: P-M Hedén (Clear Skies, TWAN)

Explanation: A bright pair of sky objects will be visible together during the next few months. Mars will shine brightly in its familiar rusty hue as it reaches its brightest of 2014 next week. The reason that Mars appears so bright is that Earth and Mars are close to each other in their long orbits around the Sun. Spica, on the other hand, shines constantly as one of the brightest blue stars in the night sky. Pronounced "spy-kah", the blue-hued star has been visible throughout human history and the sounds that identify it today date back to ancient times. Pictured above, the planet and the star were photographed rising together toward the southeast after sunset last week through old oak trees in Sweden.

Click Hyperspace: Random APOD Generator
Tomorrow's picture: at the edge

< | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | RSS | Education | About APOD | Discuss | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
NASA Web Privacy Policy and Important Notices
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.