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.
2020 October 13
Explanation: Three very different -- and very famous -- objects were all captured in a single frame last month. On the upper left is the bright blue Pleiades, perhaps the most famous cluster of stars on the night sky. The Pleiades (M45) is about 450 light years away and easily found a few degrees from Orion. On the upper right is the expansive Andromeda Galaxy, perhaps the most famous galaxy -- external to our own -- on the night sky. Andromeda (M31) is one of few objects visible to the unaided eye where you can see light that is millions of years old. In the middle is bright red Mars, perhaps the most famous planet on the night sky. Today Mars is at opposition, meaning that it is opposite the Sun, with the result that it is visible all night long. In the foreground is an ancient tomb in the Phygrian Valley in Turkey. The tomb is an impressive remnant of a powerful civilization that lived about ten thousand years ago. Mars, currently near its brightest, can be easily found toward the east just after sunset.
Authors & editors:
Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman Specific rights apply.
A service of: ASD at NASA / GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.