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.

2009 October 22
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Moon and Planets in the Morning
Credit & Copyright: Stefan Seip (TWAN)

Explanation: Last Friday, a gathering of three bright planets and the Moon graced the morning sky. With Mercury, Venus, Saturn, and a narrow lunar crescent close to the eastern horizon in the dawn twilight, this picture of the beautiful conjunction was recorded near Noerdlingen, Germany. These planets are wandering apart now and Mercury is sinking closer toward the rising Sun. But if you also scan the rest of the sky this week you should be able to add Jupiter and Mars to your planet spotting list, as Mars rises around midnight and Jupiter shines brightly after sunset. In fact, if you want a better view of Jupiter than Galileo had, you might check out the 2009 International Year of Astronomy activities and events during these next few Galilean Nights (October 22-24).

Tomorrow's picture: looking up

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