Astronomy Picture of the Day



Jupiter, Vesta, and the Milky Way

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#100957 by @ 26.05.2007 00:00 - nach oben -
Jupiter, Vesta, and the Milky Way


Explanation:

In this gorgeous skyscape, gas giant Jupiter
along with the stars and cosmic dust clouds
of the Milky Way
hang over the southern horizon in the
early morning hours as seen from Stagecoach, Colorado, USA.

Recorded on Thursday, Jupiter is the brightest object near picture
center.

Along with the stunning Milky Way, Jupiter is hard to miss,
but a
careful
inspection of the view
also reveals
main belt
asteroid Vesta.

Of all the asteroids
Vesta is the brightest and
is now just bright enough to be visible to the naked eye
from locations with very dark, clear skies.

Vesta (as well as Jupiter) appears relatively
bright now because it is near opposition, literally opposite the Sun
in planet Earth's sky and closest to Earth in its orbit.

For Vesta, this opposition
offers the best viewing in many years.

The year 2007 also
coincides
with the 200th anniversary of
the asteroid's
discovery.

Starting late next month, NASA plans to launch the
Dawn mission intended
to explore Vesta (and Ceres) and the main asteroid belt.




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