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.

June 20, 1996

Apollo Sunrise
Credit: Apollo 12 Crew, NASA

Explanation: In November of 1969, homeward bound aboard the "Yankee Clipper" command module, the Apollo 12 astronauts took this dramatic photograph of the Sun emerging from behind the Earth. From this distant perspective, part of the solar disk peers over the Earth's limb, its direct light producing the jewel like glint while sunlight scattered by the atmosphere creates the thin bright crescent. Today at 10:24 pm Eastern Daylight Time is the Summer Solstice. From an earthbound perspective, the solar disk will climb to its greatest northern declination marking the Northern Hemisphere's first day of Summer and creating the longest day -- with over 15 hours of daylight near latitude +40 degrees.

Tomorrow's picture: A Very Large Array of Radio Telescopes

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (GMU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA).
NASA Technical Rep.: Sherri Calvo. Specific rights apply.
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