Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)APOD: 2023 February 12 Б Mammatus Clouds over Nebraska
When do cloud bottoms appear like bubbles? Normally, cloud bottoms are flat. This is because moist warm air that rises and cools will condense into water droplets at a specific temperature, which usually corresponds to a very specific height. As water droplets grow, an opaque cloud forms.
Magellanic Clouds over Chile
The two prominent clouds in this Chilean Atacama Desert skyscape captured on January 21 actually lie beyond our Milky Way galaxy. Known as the Large and the Small Magellanic Clouds they are so named for the 16th century Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, leader of the first circumnavigation of planet Earth.
ZTF meets ATLAS
Fading as it races across planet Earth's northern skies comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) shares this telescopic frame with comet C/2022 U2 (ATLAS). Captured on the night of February 6 from a garden observatory in Germany's Bavarian Forest, the starry field of view toward the constellation Auriga spans about 2.5 degrees.
Nacreous Clouds over Lapland
Vivid and lustrous, wafting iridescent waves of color wash across this skyscape from Kilpisjцrvi, Finland. Known as nacreous clouds or mother-of-pearl clouds, they are rare. But their unforgettable appearance was captured looking south at 69 degrees north latitude at sunset on January 24.
APOD: 2023 February 8 Б Stellar Wind Shaped Nebula RCW 58
Imagine traveling to a star about 100 times as massive as our Sun, a million times more luminous, and with 30 times the surface temperature. Such stars exist, and some are known as Wolf Rayet (WR) stars, named after French astronomers Charles Wolf and Georges Rayet.
APOD: 2023 February 7 Б A Comet and Two Dippers
Can you still see the comet? Yes. Even as C/2022 E3 (ZTF) fades, there is still time to see it if you know where and when to look. Geometrically, Comet ZTF has passed its closest to both the Sun and the Earth and is now headed back to the outer Solar System.
APOD: 2023 February 6 Б In the Heart of the Rosette Nebula
In the heart of the Rosette Nebula lies a bright cluster of stars that lights up the nebula. The stars of NGC 2244 formed from the surrounding gas only a few million years ago.
APOD: 2023 February 5 Б Enceladus by Saturnshine
This moon is shining by the light of its planet. Specifically, a large portion of Enceladus pictured here is illuminated primarily by sunlight first reflected from the planet Saturn. The result is that the normally snow-white moon appears in the gold color of Saturn's cloud tops.
NGC 2626 along the Vela Molecular Ridge
Centered in this colorful cosmic canvas, NGC 2626 is a beautiful, bright, blue reflection nebula in the southern Milky Way. Next to an obscuring dust cloud and surrounded by reddish hydrogen emission from large H II region RCW 27 it lies within a complex of dusty molecular clouds known as the Vela Molecular Ridge.
Polaris and the Trail of Comet ZTF
Stars trace concentric arcs around the North Celestial Pole in this three hour long night sky composite, recorded with a digital camera fixed to a tripod on January 31, near цger, Lleida, Spain. On that date Comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) was near its northernmost declination in planet Earth's sky.