Astronomy Picture of the Day



Pantheon Earth and Moon

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#99757 by @ 21.04.2007 00:00 - nach oben -
Pantheon Earth and Moon


Explanation:

Could this be a picture of the Earth and Moon
from space?

It certainly looks like it at first glance, with a dark, cratered Moon
standing off from planet Earth's lovely blue disk
surrounded by a nurturing
atmosphere.

In fact, this
view looks
up into the dome of the
ancient Pantheon
in Rome.

The Earth's blue disk is really the daytime sky with clouds seen
through a nine meter diameter central opening in the dome.

The circular opening, or oculus, was intended as the
source of light for the building's interior.

The Moon is actually direct sunlight streaming through the oculus
onto the dome's inner ribbed structure.

Historian Soeren Dalsgaard snapped
the intriguing
picture
in February and
comments that for almost two thousand years the rays of the Sun have traced a
steady path on the inside of
the
Pantheon's
cupola.

A testament to Roman architecture and engineering,
the Pantheon's dome
is said to symbolize the vault of the heavens.


Bohdan Paczynski 1940-2007


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