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 August 16
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Five Planets and the Moon over Australia
Image Credit & Copyright: Alex Cherney (Terrastro, TWAN)

Explanation: It is not a coincidence that planets line up. That's because all of the planets orbit the Sun in (nearly) a single sheet called the plane of the ecliptic. When viewed from inside that plane -- as Earth dwellers are likely to do -- the planets all appear confined to a single band. It is a coincidence, though, when several of the brightest planets all appear in nearly the same direction. Such a coincidence was captured last week. Featured above, six planets and Earth's Moon were all imaged together last week, just after sunset, from Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia. A second band is visible across the top of this tall image -- the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy.

Perseid Meteors 2016: Album 1 & Album 2
Tomorrow's picture: meteor galaxy

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