NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 24 May 2023: As Moon hides behind Jupiter, Sony camera snaps amazing pic

Today’s NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day is a snapshot of lunar occultation, as the Moon hid behind Jupiter.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: May 24 2023, 14:04 IST
Spectacular NASA Astronomy Pictures of the Week: Eagle Nebula, Dark Sunspots and more
NASA Eagle Nebula
1/5 The mesmerizing Eagle Nebula (May 15) - This is a snapshot of M16, also known as the Eagle Nebula which spans about 20 light-years across. The nebula, discovered in 1745 by the Swiss astronomer Jean-Philippe Loys de Chéseaux, is located 7,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Serpens, according to NASA. (NASA/Gianni Lacroce)
Sun
2/5 Sun’s Corona visible during solar eclipse (May 16) - Sun’s Corona was shot during a total solar eclipse. Temperatures in the Sun’s Corona can reach up to 2 million degrees and it is also the region where solar wind originates, according to NASA. While the hottest part of the Sun is its core, one of its most puzzling features is its Corona which extends more than 1 million kilometers from its surface. (NASA/Reinhold Wittich)
Sunspots
3/5 Sun’s Dark Sunspots (May 17) - Sunspots on the surface of the Sun in the active region AR 3297 were captured in this image. According to NASA, Sunspots are dark areas on the solar surface that contain strong magnetic fields that are constantly shifting and can form and dissipate over periods of days or weeks. They occur when strong magnetic fields emerge through the solar surface and allow the area to cool slightly. (NASA/Mark Johnston)
WR134 Ring Nebula
4/5 Breathtaking WR134 Ring Nebula (May 18) -  It is a breathtaking snapshot of the WR134 Ring Nebula, located about 6000 light-years from Earth towards the constellation Cygnus. At the center of the Nebula is the Wolf Rayet star WR 134 named after French astronomers Charles Wolf and Georges Rayet. (NASA/Craig Stocks)
NASA M63 Curly Spiral Galaxy
5/5 Snapshot of M63 Curly Spiral Galaxy (May 19) - The celestial object captured in this image is the M63 Curly Spiral Galaxy which is located about 30 million light-years away towards the constellation Canes Venatici. Also known as NGC 5055, this spiral galaxy spans almost 100,000 light-years. Spiral Galaxies like M63 are disks of stars, gas, and dust that have bright bulges in their centers made up primarily of older and dimmer stars. (NASA/Sophie Paulin/Jens Unger/Jakob Sahner)
NASA Moon
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Moon can be seen occulting behind Jupiter in this image captured by astrophotographer Rick Whitacre. (NASA/Rick Whitacre)

Over the past few months, we have seen several stunning snapshots of celestial objects as part of NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day, which is published on a daily basis. Snapshots of celestial objects like galaxies, black holes, nebulae, and more, were captured by astrophotographers from all over the world and have been shared by NASA. However, today's picture is a different one as it is not a snapshot of one particular object, but rather an occultation. For the unaware, occultation occurs when an object like a moon hides from the observer behind another object.

Today's NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day is a snapshot of lunar occultation, as the Moon hid behind Jupiter. This phenomenon occurred earlier this month, and while the Moon is half-lit by the Sun, its other part is in hiding. In the snapshot shared by NASA, the Moon is backdropping the Lick Observatory in California, USA, on the summit of Mount Hamilton.

The picture was captured by astrophotographer Rick Whitacre from Joseph D Grant Park in California using a Sony A7IV full frame hybrid camera with Sony FE 200-600mm lens.

NASA's description of the picture

Sometimes we witness the Moon moving directly in front of -- called occulting -- one of the planets in our Solar System. Earlier this month that planet was Jupiter. Captured here was the moment when Jupiter re-appeared from behind the surface of our Moon. The Moon was in its third quarter, two days before the dark New Moon.

Now, our Moon is continuously half lit by the Sun, but when in its third quarter, relatively little of that half can be seen from the Earth. Pictured, the Moon itself was aligned behind the famous Lick Observatory in California, USA, on the summit of Mount Hamilton. Coincidentally, Lick enabled the discovery of a moon of Jupiter: Amalthea, the last visually detected moon of Jupiter after Galileo's observations.

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First Published Date: 24 May, 14:04 IST
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