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.

2024 April 29

A starry sky is seen over a dark grassy landscape. Three bright
objects are seen in the sky. They are Jupiter on the upper left,
a crescent Moon on the upper right, and Comet Pons-Brooks below
them, making a triangle. Two tails are seen extending nearly
upwards from the comet.
Please see the explanation for more detailed information.

Comet, Planet, Moon
Image Credit & Copyright: Juan Carlos Casado (Starry Earth, TWAN)

Explanation: Three bright objects satisfied seasoned stargazers of the western sky just after sunset earlier this month. The most familiar was the Moon, seen on the upper left in a crescent phase. The rest of the Moon was faintly visible by sunlight first reflected by the Earth. The bright planet Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System, is seen to the upper left. Most unusual was Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks, below the Moon and showing a stubby dust tail on the right but an impressive ion tail extending upwards. The featured image, a composite of several images taken consecutively at the same location and with the same camera, was taken near the village of Llers, in Spain's Girona province. Comet Pons-Brooks passed its closest to the Sun last week and is now dimming as it moves into southern skies and returns to the outer Solar System.

Almost Hyperspace: Random APOD Generator
Tomorrow's picture: nova surprise

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