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.

October 6, 1996
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A Crescent Earth At Midnight
GOES-8 Satellite, GSFC, NASA

Explanation: The Earth's northern hemisphere appears outlined as a sunlit crescent in this dramatic view from the GOES 8 satellite. The image was made near midnight for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite on June 22 this year, two days after the Summer Solstice. The Summer Solstice is the time of year when the sun reaches its greatest northern declination and the arctic regions near the top of the picture experience 24 hours of daylight. Looking south along the Earth's limb, atmospheric scattering of sunlight causes the bright crescent to be visible beyond areas directly illuminated by the sun.

Tomorrow's picture: Io's Shadow

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA).
NASA Technical Rep.: Sherri Calvo. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC