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.

2023 August 3
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The Falcon and the Redstone
Image Credit & Copyright: Matt Haskell

Explanation: In a photo from the early hours of July 29 (UTC), a Redstone rocket and Mercury capsule are on display at Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 5. Beyond the Redstone, the 8 minute long exposure has captured the arcing launch streak of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. The Falcon's heavy communications satellite payload, at a record setting 9 metric tons, is bound for geosynchronous orbit some 22,000 miles above planet Earth. The historic launch of a Redstone rocket carried astronaut Alan Shepard on a suborbital spaceflight in May 1961 to an altitude of about 116 miles. Near the top of the frame, this Falcon rocket's two reusable side boosters separate and execute brief entry burns. They returned to land side by side at Canaveral's Landing Zone 1 and 2 in the distance.

Tomorrow's picture: moonrays

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