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.

2006 September 1
See Explanation. Go online for the highest resolution available.

Gemini South Star Trails
Credit & Copyright: Elke Schulz

Explanation: Stars seem to arc through southern skies in this surrealistic time exposure -- recorded before moonrise from the Gemini South Observatory, Cerro Pachon, Chile, Planet Earth. During the one hour 40 minute exposure camera and tripod were fixed, so the concentric star trails are a reflection of Earth's daily rotation about its axis. The view looks to the south and includes the Gemini telescope enclosure in the foreground. At the apparent center of the curving trails, the South Celestial Pole lies just off the upper left edge. Two faint, wide streaks track the Magellanic Clouds, satellites of the Milky Way Galaxy, while a meteor flashes throught the scene just left of the observatory.

View this page (with external links) online at
http://apod.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap060901.html.


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