Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Trail of the Returner
Familiar stars of a northern winter's night shine in this night skyview, taken near Zhangye, Gansu, China and the border with Inner Mongolia. During the early hours of December 17 Orion is near...
Jupiter and Saturn Great Conjunction: The Movie
Yes, but have you seen a movie of Jupiter and Saturn's Great Conjunction? The featured time-lapse video was composed from a series of images taken from Thailand and shows the two giant planets as they angularly passed about a tenth of a degree from each other.
Earth During a Total Solar Eclipse
What does the Earth look like during a total solar eclipse? It appears dark in the region where people see the eclipse, because that's where the shadow of the Moon falls. The shadow...
M16: Inside the Eagle Nebula
From afar, the whole thing looks like an Eagle. A closer look at the Eagle Nebula, however, shows the bright region is actually a window into the center of a larger dark shell of dust. Through this window, a brightly-lit workshop appears where a whole open cluster of stars is being formed.
Cosmic Latte: The Average Color of the Universe
What color is the universe? More precisely, if the entire sky were smeared out, what color would the final mix be? This whimsical question came up when trying to determine what stars are commonplace in nearby galaxies. The answer, depicted above, is a conditionally perceived shade of beige. In computer parlance: #FFF8E7.
Fox Fur, Unicorn, and Christmas Tree
Clouds of glowing hydrogen gas fill this colorful skyscape in the faint but fanciful constellation Monoceros, the Unicorn. A star forming region cataloged as NGC 2264, the complex jumble of cosmic gas and dust...
Northern Winter Night
Orion always seems to come up sideways on northern winter evenings. Those familiar stars of the constellation of the Hunter are caught above the trees in this colorful night skyscape. Not a star at all but still visible to eye, the Great Nebula of Orion shines below the Hunter's belt stars.
Portrait of NGC 1055
Big, beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 1055 is a dominant member of a small galaxy group a mere 60 million light-years away toward the aquatically intimidating constellation Cetus. Seen edge-on, the island universe spans over 100,000 light-years, a little larger than our own Milky Way galaxy.
Jupiter Meets Saturn: A Red Spotted Great Conjunction
It was time for their close-up. Last week Jupiter and Saturn passed a tenth of a degree from each other in what is known a Great Conjunction. Although the two planets pass each other on the sky every 20 years, this was the closest pass in nearly four centuries.
Trifid Pillars and Jets
Dust pillars are like interstellar mountains. They survive because they are more dense than their surroundings, but they are being slowly eroded away by a hostile environment. Visible in the featured picture...