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.

2007 March 16
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Eclipsing the Rings
Credit & Copyright: Pete Lawrence (Digital-Astronomy)

Explanation: The March 3rd total lunar eclipse was widely viewed by denizens of planet Earth. But only a day before, well placed observers could also watch a lunar occultation of Saturn as the planet passed behind the nearly Full Moon. From Selsey, UK, astronomer Pete Lawrence actually saw Saturn graze the lunar limb, the Moon's bright surface dramatically eclipsing a substantial part of the gas giant's spectacular rings. In this summary view of the grazing occultation, south is up and Saturn's position is shown every 90 seconds in a composite of images constructed from video frames. The frames were all recorded near the occultation event, then combined and adjusted to compensate for the large difference in brightness between Saturn and the lunar surface.

Tomorrow's picture: eye full

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

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
NASA Web Privacy Policy and Important Notices
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.