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 14, 1997
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

Venus On The Horizon
Credit: STS 30 Crew, NASA

Explanation: The month of October features a sky full of planets, including Venus as the brilliant evening star. Besides the sun and moon, Venus is the brightest object visible in Earth's sky. This month, Venus appears in early evening near the red planet Mars and Mars' red giant rival Antares above the southwestern horizon. Because it is closer to the sun than Earth, Venus never strays far from the sun in its apparent position and is seen during the year as either a bright morning or evening star. This beautiful sunset imaged from low earth orbit by the Atlantis space shuttle crew in May 1989 also reveals the planet Venus blazing above Earth's horizon. It is a fitting image for this mission and crew. It was recorded following the successful release of the robot Venus-explorer Magellan, the first planetary probe to be deployed from a space shuttle.

Tomorrow's picture: Cold Wind

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.