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 4
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Moonrays of August
Image Credit & Copyright: Gianni Tumino

Explanation: A Full Moon rose as the Sun set on August 1. Near perigee, the closest point in its almost moonthly orbit, the brighter than average lunar disk illuminated night skies around planet Earth as the second supermoon of 2023. Seen here above Ragusa, Sicily, cloud banks cast diverging shadows through the supermoonlit skies, creating dramatic lunar crepuscular rays. The next Full Moon in 2023 will also shine on an August night. Rising as the Sun sets on August 30/31, this second Full Moon in a month is known as a Blue Moon. Blue moons occur only once every 2 or 3 years because lunar phases take almost a calendar month (29.5 days) to go through a complete cycle. But August's Blue Moon will also be near perigee, the third supermoon in 2023.

Tomorrow's picture: a robin's egg

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