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 October 8

A partially eclipse Sun is shown. In front of the Sun 
are sunspots, the Moon, clouds, and an airplane.
Please see the explanation for more detailed information.

Plane, Clouds, Moon, Spots, Sun
Image Credit & Copyright: Doyle and Shannon Slifer

Explanation: What's that in front of the Sun? The closest object is an airplane, visible just below the Sun's center and caught purely by chance. Next out are numerous clouds in Earth's atmosphere, creating a series of darkened horizontal streaks. Farther out is Earth's Moon, seen as the large dark circular bite on the upper right. Just above the airplane and just below the Sun's surface are sunspots. The main sunspot group captured here, AR 2192, was in 2014 one of the largest ever recorded and had been crackling and bursting with flares since it came around the edge of the Sun a week before. This show of solar silhouettes was unfortunately short-lived. Within a few seconds the plane flew away. Within a few minutes the clouds drifted off. Within a few hours the partial solar eclipse of the Sun by the Moon was over. Fortunately, when it comes to the Sun, even unexpected alignments are surprisingly frequent. Perhaps one will be imaged this Saturday when a new partial solar eclipse will be visible from much of North and South America.

APOD editor to speak: in Houghton, Michigan on Thursday, October 12 at 6 pm
Tomorrow's picture: strange sunrise eclipse

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
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