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.

2001 January 5
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Second Millennium, Last Eclipse
Credit & Copyright: Philipp Rau

Explanation: Christmas Day 2000 featured the final eclipse of the Second Millennium -- a partial solar eclipse visible from much of North America. Astrophotographer Phil Rau recorded the entire event on a single image as the Sun and Moon arced through winter skies above Cary, North Carolina, USA. Using a well positioned, tripod mounted camera and a solar filter, Rau made a short exposure every 10 minutes from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm EST, covering the local duration of the eclipse. The resulting image beautifully illustrates the steady progress of the dark new Moon as it appears to take a bite out of the golden solar disk. From his location, at eclipse maximum (near picture center) just less than 50 percent of the Sun's diameter was covered by the Moon.

Tomorrow's picture: Moonship

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
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& Michigan Tech. U.