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.

2008 March 1
See Explanation. Go online for the highest resolution available.

Mauna Kea Shadow Play
Credit & Copyright: Alex Mukensnable

Explanation: Just opposite the setting Sun, the already-eclipsed Moon rose over the Hawaiian Islands on February 20. A view near the 14,000 foot peak of volcanic Mauna Kea on the Big Island, a popular spot for astronomers, offered this remarkable play of shadows and sunlight. With snowy cinder cones in the foreground, the Moon lies within the shadow cast by the mountain -- a shadow extending across a lower cloud deck and on through Earth's dense atmosphere. As the lunar eclipse is drawing to a close, the curved shadow of the limb of planet Earth itself can also be traced across the Moon's surface, some 400,000 kilometers away.

View this page (with external links) online at
http://apod.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap080301.html.


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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Official: Phillip Newman. Specific rights apply.
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