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.
2000 December 25
Explanation: If you look closely at the shadow of this tree, you will see something quite unusual: it is composed of hundreds of images of a partially eclipsed Sun. Early today, trees across North America will be casting similar shadows as a partial eclipse of the Sun takes place. In a partial eclipse, the Moon does not cover the entire Sun. The above effect is created by small spaces between leaves and branches acting as pinhole lenses. Looking at shadows involving eclipse light is relatively safe - looking directly at the Sun, even during an eclipse, is dangerous and proper precautions should be taken. The above picture was taken in 1994 on the campus of Northwestern University.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.