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.

2004 May 1
See Explanation.
Moving the cursor over the image will bring up an annotated version.
Clicking on the image will bring up the highest resolution version available.

A Western Sky at Twilight
Credit & Copyright: Stan Richard

Explanation: On April 23rd, the Moon along with planets Saturn, Mars, and Venus (and planet Earth of course ...) were all visible in the west at twilight, captured here from a site near Saylorvillle Lake north of Des Moines, Iowa, USA. Putting your cursor over the image will label our fellow solar system wanderers and also reveal the approximate trajectory of the ecliptic plane - defined by Earth's orbit around the Sun - angling above the western horizon. After sunset tonight, the western sky will present a similar arrangement of planets, although the Moon will have moved east out of the picture, passing bright Jupiter along the ecliptic and heading for May 4th's total lunar eclipse. May could also be a good month for comets.

Tomorrow's picture: strangest moon

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