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.

2016 March 31
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Big Dipper to Southern Cross
Image Credit & Copyright: Petr Horálek

Explanation: Welcome to an equatorial night. This remarkable 24 frame night skyscape was captured from Maba Beach on the Indonesian island of Halmahera during the evening of March 4. Seen from a mere 0.7 degrees northern latitude, both famous northern and southern asterisms and navigational aids lie within the panoramic view. The Big Dipper is on the far left and Southern Cross at the far right. Beyond the fading campfire on that night a yellow-orange celestial triangle is set by Mars, Antares, and Saturn. It stands above the rising central Milky Way, or "Miett" in the local Maba language. Of course, you can follow the pole pointing stars in the cup of the Big Dipper or body of the Southern Cross to the north and south celestial poles. Both lie just at the horizon in the view from the island's equatorial beach.

Tomorrow's picture: extreme shrimp

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