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.

2004 May 24
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Planets Over Easter Island
Credit & Copyright: Magnus Galfalk (Stockholm Observatory)

Explanation: It isn't every day that planets line up behind a stone giant. For one thing, it helps to have a good planet line-up, such as occurred in the sky just last month. For another, it helps to be on Easter Island, where over 800 large stone statues exist. The Easter Island statues, stand, on the average, over twice as tall as a person and have over 200 times as much mass. Few specifics are known about the history or meaning of the unusual statues, but many believe that they were created about 500 years ago in the images of local leaders of a lost civilization. Pictured above, the Moon, Venus, and Mars can be seen behind Ahu Tahai, a famous Easter Island statue. The bright star Aldebaran is also visible.

Tomorrow's picture: Moon Between the Stones

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