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.

2006 June 17
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
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Saturn, Mars, and the Beehive Cluster
Credit & Copyright: Tunc Tezel

Explanation: Grab a pair of binoculars and check out Saturn and Mars in the early evening sky tonight! Looking west shortly after sunset, your view could be similar to this one - recorded on June 14. But while this picture shows the two bright planets (Saturn at left) separated by around 1.5 degrees and neatly flanking M44, the Beehive Star Cluster, tonight should find those planets even closer together. In fact, Saturn and Mars are scheduled to achieve their closest alignment near sunset, approaching to within about half a degree. The Beehive will still stand out in the distant starry background. Still got those binoculars in hand? You might as well look for Mercury and Jupiter too.

Tomorrow's picture: Father and Son

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