COOL IMAGES: Sunburst of Inspiration

Science  10 Sep 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5434, pp. 1635
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5434.1635a

This is an analemma, the figure-8 pattern the sun traces as its position in the sky shifts from season to season, due to Earth's tilt and elliptical orbit. Dennis di Cicco captured the analemma in the late 1970s by bolting a camera to his house in Massachusetts and opening the shutter about once a week, at the same time in the morning, for a year. It's the first photo of its kind made, says di Cicco, an editor at Sky & Telescope magazine. And it's one of 22 astronomy images in a poll at the magazine's Web site to let readers choose “the most inspiring [images] of the 20th century.” The top 10 vote- getters will be featured in the January issue. Pick from those posted—including galaxies, a nebula, comets, and a moonrise—or nominate one not on the list at (For more about analemmas, visit

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