Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Skylab Over Earth
Skylab was an orbiting laboratory launched by a Saturn V rocket in May 1973. Skylab was visited three times by NASA astronauts who sometimes stayed as long as two and a half months. Many scientific tests were preformed on Skylab, including astronomical observations in ultraviolet and X-ray light.
Saturn V: NASA's Largest Rocket
Pictured, a NASA Saturn V rocket blasts off on July 16th, 1969 carrying the crew of Apollo 11 to the Moon. The Saturn V rocket was the largest rocket ever used by NASA, and the only one able to lift the large masses needed to land astronauts on the moon and returning them safely.
Dusty Galaxy Centaurus A
One of the most unusual galaxies known, Centaurus A, is pictured above. Cen A is marked by dramatic dust lanes that run across the galaxy's center. These dust lanes are so thick they almost completely obscure the galaxy's center in visible light.
Gamma Ray Bursts from the Unknown
Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) pose one of the greatest mysteries of modern astronomy. About once a day, the gamma-ray sky lights up with a spectacular explosion. No one knows what causes these explosions or even how far away they are.
Two Tails of Comet West
Here Comet West is seen showing two enormous tails that wrap around the sky. The ion tale of a comet usually appears more blue and always points away from the Sun. The dust tail trailing the comet's nucleus is the most prominent.
A World Explorer
Ferdinand Magellan was a world explorer. Many consider him the greatest navigator of Europe's 16th century age of sea going exploration and credit his expedition with the first circumnavigation of planet Earth. NASA...
A Radar Image of Planet Earth
This image of Mt. Rainier, Washington USA, planet Earth, was produced by the Spaceborne Radar Laboratory which flew on the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1994. Radar, short for RAdio Detection And Ranging...
A Venusian Tick
Data from the Magellan spacecraft has shown the Face of Venus to contain a host of volcanic features. This image shows an example of a fairly common type of venusian volcanic feature. Known...
The surface of Venus is perpetually covered by a veil of thick clouds and remains hidden from even the powerful telescopic eyes of earth-based astronomers. However, using an imaging radar technique, the Magellan spacecraft...
An Orbiting Iceberg
A comet nucleus, formed from the primordial stuff of the solar system, resembles a very dirty iceberg. Orbiting far from our Sun, it can remain frozen, preserved for billions of years. Occasionally, a chance gravitational encounter will alter this distant orbit and send the nucleus plummeting towards the inner solar system.