To infinity and beyond

I just saw this photo (click to embiggen) and my jaw dropped. I tend to find any space shuttle photographs pretty awe-inspiring anyway, but when I read the description of this one, I just sat here, staring at the screen, mouth hanging open…

Shining through the early morning twilight four planets were also poised above the eastern horizon, a moving scene captured here from across the Banana River at the center’s Saturn V VIP viewing site … Jupiter is highest, near the top of the frame, but even the solar sytem’s ruling gas giant is outshone by brilliant Venus near picture center. Innermost planet Mercury is below Venus, to the right. Below and left, Mars almost fades into the twilight glow.

You can see FOUR PLANETS on this photograph – FIVE if we count the one we live on (which we probably should). The Universe really is wondrous, isn’t it?

{Image Credit: Daniel Herron (Atlanta Astronomy Club) via Nasa’s Astronomy Picture of the Day}