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.

2017 December 4

Earth and Moon
Images Credit: NASA, JPL, Galileo Project; Processing & License: Gordan Ugarkovic

Explanation: On rare occasions, the Earth and Moon are photographed together. One of most spectacular times this occurred was 25 years ago this month when the Jupiter-bound Galileo spacecraft zoomed past our home planetary system. Then, robotic Galileo watched from about 15-times the Earth-Moon separation as our only natural satellite glided past our home world. The featured video combines 52 historic color-enhanced images. Although our Moon may appear small next to the Earth, no other planet in our Solar System has a satellite so comparable in size . The Sun, far off to the right, illuminated about half of each sphere, and shows the spinning Earth's white clouds, blue oceans, and tan continents. Tonight, a nearly full Oak supermoon will be visible from all of Earth from sunset to sunrise.

Gallery: Supermoon 2017
Free APOD Lectures: January 5 in NYC & January 9 in DC
Tomorrow's picture: volcanic horizon

< | Archive | Submissions | Index | Search | Calendar | RSS | Education | About APOD | Discuss | >

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