Astronomy Picture of the Day – A Morning Line of Stars and Planets

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.

2012 July 11

 A Morning Line of Stars and Planets

 Image Credit & Copyright: Yuri Beletsky (Las Campanas ObservatoryCarnegie Institution for Science)

Explanation: Early morning dog walkers got a visual treat last week  as bright stars and planets appeared to line up. Pictured above, easily visible from left to right, were the  Pleiades open star cluster,  Jupiter,  Venus, and the  “Follower” star  Aldebaran, all seen before a starry background. The image was taken from the  Atacama desert in western  South America.  The glow of the rising Sun can be seen over the eastern horizon. Jupiter and Venus will  continue to dazzle pre-dawn strollers all over planet Earth  for the rest of the month,  although even now the  morning planets are seen projected away from the line connecting their distant stellar  sky mates.

Astronomy Picture of the Day for November 17th

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.

2011 November 17
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download the highest resolution version available.

Pleiades to Hyades
Image Credit & Copyright: Rogelio Bernal Andreo

 

Explanation: This cosmic vista stretches almost 20 degrees across the gentle constellation Taurus. It begins at the Pleiades and ends at the Hyades, two of the best known star clusters in planet Earth’s sky. At left, the lovely Pleiades star cluster is about 400 light-years away. In a familiar celestial scene, the cluster stars shine through dusty clouds that scatter blue starlight. At right, the V-shaped Hyades cluster looks more spread out compared to the compact Pleiades and lies much closer, 150 light-years distant. Of course, the Hyades cluster stars seem anchored by bright Aldebaran, a red giant star with a yellowish appearance. But Aldebaran actually lies only 65 light-years away, by chance along the line of sight to the Hyades cluster. Faint dust clouds found near the edge of the Taurus Molecular Cloud are also evident throughout the remarkable 12 panel mosaic. The wide field of view includes the youthful star T Tauri and Hind’s variable nebula about four degrees left of Aldebaran on the sky.