Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Light Echoes from V838 Mon
What caused this outburst of V838 Mon? For reasons unknown, star V838 Mon's outer surface suddenly greatly expanded with the result that it became the brightest star in the entire Milky Way Galaxy in January 2002. Then, just as suddenly, it faded.
NGC 253: Dusty Island Universe
Shiny NGC 253 Galaxy, is one of the brightest spiral galaxies visible, and also one of the dustiest. Some call it the Silver Dollar Galaxy for its appearance in small telescopes, or just the Sculptor Galaxy for its location within the boundaries of the southern constellation Sculptor.
Meteor between the Clouds
This bright meteor streaked through dark night skies over Sutherland, South Africa on November 15. Potentially part of the annual Leonid meteor shower, its sudden, brilliant appearance, likened to a camera's flash, was captured by chance as it passed between two clouds.
Leonid over Mono Lake
Eerie spires of rock rise from shore of Mono Lake in the foreground of this early morning skyscape. The salty, mineral-laden lake is located in California's eastern Sierra Nevada mountain range and the spindly rock formations are naturally formed limestone towers called tufa.
Water Discovered in Moon Shadow
Why is there water on the Moon? Last month, the LCROSS mission crashed a large impactor into a permanently shadowed crater near the Moon's South Pole. A plume of dust rose that was visible to the satellite, although hard to discern from Earth. The plume is shown above in visible light.
Dawn Before Nova
Will this dawn bring another nova? Such dilemmas might be pondered one day by future humans living on a planet orbiting a cataclysmic variable binary star system. Cataclysmic variables involve gas falling from a large star onto an accretion disk surrounding a massive but compact white dwarf star.
M83s Center from Refurbished Hubble
What's happening at the center of spiral galaxy M83? Just about everything, from the looks of it. M83 is one of the closest spiral galaxies to our own Milky Way Galaxy and from a distance of 15 million light-years, appears to be relatively normal.
M57: The Ring Nebula
It looks like a ring on the sky. Hundreds of years ago astronomers noticed a nebula with a most unusual shape. Now known as M57 or NGC 6720, the gas cloud became popularly known as the Ring Nebula.
What's 93 million miles away and still hurts your eyes when you look at it? The answer is not the Denver International Airport, known to some travelers as DIA. But DIA does appear in dramatic silhouette in the foreground of this telephoto image.
Young Stars in the Rho Ophiuchi Cloud
Cosmic dust clouds and embedded newborn stars glow at infrared wavelengths in this tantalizing false-color view from the Spitzer Space Telescope. Pictured is of one of the closest star forming regions, part of the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex some 400 light-years distant near the southern edge of the pronounceable constellation Ophiuchus.