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 February 24
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To the Moon
Image Credit: Intuitive Machines

Explanation: Intuitive Machines' robotic lander Odysseus has accomplished the first U.S. landing on the Moon since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972. Launched on a SpaceX rocket on February 15, the phone booth sized lander reached lunar orbit on the 21st and successfully touched down on the lunar surface at 6:23 pm Eastern time on February 22nd. Its target landing region is about 300 kilometers north of the Moon's south pole. Prior to landing Odysseus’ navigation camera captured this image as it passed over the Moon’s northern equatorial highlands. At upper right is the 50 kilometer diameter impact crater designated Bel’kovich K.

Tomorrow's picture: Phoenix over Iceland

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