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.

2008 August 31
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Eclipse over the Great Wall
Credit & Copyright: Mike Simmons (Astronomers Without Borders, TWAN)

Explanation: Contrary to the famous myth, you can't see the Great Wall of China from the Moon ... even during a total solar eclipse. But on August 1 you could see the Moon eclipsing the Sun from the Great Wall. In fact, from this location near the Great Wall's western end, the Moon completely blocked the Sun's overwhelming disk revealing a shimmering solar corona and bright planets in the briefly darkened sky. A main pass, The Great Wall's Jiayuguan Fort, is also silhouetted in the foreground. The pass is the western-most of the wall's passes and the best preserved, initially built around 1372 during the Ming dynasty. The nearby city of Jiayuguan in Gansu Province was an important stop on the Silk Road.

Tomorrow's picture: gas claw

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