Crescent Neptune and Triton

APOD: 2021 July 25 - Crescent Neptune and Triton

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.

2021 July 25
The picture shows the planet Neptune and its moon Triton,
both in crescent phases, as captured by the passing Voyager
2 spacecraft in 1989.
Please see the explanation for more detailed information.

Crescent Neptune and Triton
Image Credit: NASA, Voyager 2

Explanation: Gliding silently through the outer Solar System, the Voyager 2 spacecraft camera captured Neptune and Triton together in crescent phase. The elegant picture of the ice-giant planet and its cloudy moon was taken from behind just after closest approach in 1989. It could not have been taken from Earth because Neptune never shows a crescent phase to sunward Earth. The unusual vantage point also robs Neptune of its familiar blue hue, as sunlight seen from here is scattered forward, and so is reddened like the setting Sun. Neptune is smaller but more massive than Uranus, has several dark rings, and emits more light than it receives from the Sun.

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