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.

2005 June 30
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Three Planets from Mt. Hamilton
Credit & Copyright: R. Jay GaBany

Explanation: Venus, Mercury, and Saturn wandered close together in western evening skies last week. On Saturnday, June 25, astronomer R. Jay GaBany recorded this snapshot of their eye-catching planetary conjunction, from historic Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton, California, USA. The view looks toward the Pacific shortly after sunset with the lights of San Jose and the southern San Francisco Bay area in the foreground. Of course, Venus is the brightest of the trio. Mercury is nearby on the right and Saturn is below and left, closest to the horizon. Farther to the right of the planetary triangle are Pollux and Castor, twin stars of Gemini, with Regulus, bright star of the constellation Leo, at the very upper left corner of the picture. In the coming days, Venus and Mercury remain close, while Saturn continues to drop below them, toward the horizon.

Tomorrow's picture: ring around Fomalhaut

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

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Web Site Statements, Warnings, and Disclaimers
NASA Official: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: EUD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.