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 May 24
A dark mountain lies in the center with an observatory
building sporting two telescope domes. The background sky
appears dark blue. Behind the center of the observatory
is part of a crescent moon, with an unusual bright spot
to its upper left.
Please see the explanation for more detailed information.

Observatory Aligned with Moon Occulting Jupiter
Image Credit & Copyright: Rick Whitacre; Text: Natalia Lewandowska (SUNY Oswego)

Explanation: Sometimes we witness the Moon moving directly in front of -- called occulting -- one of the planets in our Solar System. Earlier this month that planet was Jupiter. Captured here was the moment when Jupiter re-appeared from behind the surface of our Moon. The Moon was in its third quarter, two days before the dark New Moon. Now our Moon is always half lit by the Sun, but when in its third quarter, relatively little of the lit-half can be seen from the Earth. Pictured, the Moon itself was aligned behind the famous Lick Observatory in California, USA, on the summit of Mount Hamilton. Coincidentally, Lick enabled the discovery of a moon of Jupiter: Amalthea, the last visually detected moon of Jupiter after Galileo's observations.

Gallery: Moon Occults Jupiter in 2023 May: Notable Submissions to APOD
Tomorrow's picture: in a cat's eye

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