Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Fullerenes as Miniature Cosmic Time Capsules
Scientists have found, unexpectedly, tiny time capsules from billions of years in the past. The discovery involves small molecules that can apparently become trapped during the formation of large enclosed molecules known as fullerenes, or buckyballs. Luann Becker (U.
M20: The Trifid Nebula
Unspeakable beauty and unimaginable bedlam can be found together in the Trifid Nebula. Also known as M20, this photogenic nebula is visible with good binoculars towards the constellation of Sagittarius. The energetic processes of star formation create not only the colors but the chaos. The red-glowing gas results from high-energy starlight striking interstellar hydrogen gas.
Flying Over Asteroid Eros
What would it look like to fly over an asteroid? Spacecraft NEAR Shoemaker in orbit around asteroid 433 Eros found out earlier this month when it recorded its first fly-over sequence. The saddle region of the Sun-orbiting space-mountain appears to zip past the camera in this condensed hour-long time-lapse sequence.
Venus Once Molten Surface
If you could look at Venus with radar eyes - this is what you might see. This computer reconstruction of the surface of Venus was created from data from the Magellan spacecraft. Magellan orbited Venus and used radar to map our neighboring planet's surface between 1990 and 1994.
The Earth Also Rises
The Lunar Orbiter 1 spacecraft was launched in 1966 to map the lunar surface in preparation for the Apollo moon landings. NASA's plucky robotic explorer performed its job well and pioneered this classic view of the Earth poised above the lunar horizon.
A Mystery in Gamma Rays
Gamma rays are the most energetic form of light, packing a million or more times the energy of visible light photons. What if you could see gamma rays? If you could, the familiar skyscape...
What's inside Mars? From orbit, the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft has recorded detailed images of the red planet since July 1997. Still, its cameras can not look beneath the surface. But minute...
A Spherule from Outer Space
When a meteorite strikes the Moon, the energy of the impact melts some of the splattering rock, a fraction of which might cool into tiny glass beads. Many of these glass beads were present in lunar soil samples returned to Earth by the Apollo missions.
HH111's 12 Light-Year Star Jet
The complex interactions of three stars in the Orion B molecular cloud complex have resulted in the ejection of particles along a 12 light-year long jet. One of the stars in the HH111 system has apparently also been ejected leaving two stars tightly bound in a binary orbit.
Mercury on the Horizon
Have you ever seen the planet Mercury? Because Mercury orbits so close to the Sun, it is never seen far from the Sun, and so is only visible near sunrise or sunset. If trailing the Sun, Mercury will be visible for several minutes before it follows the Sun behind the Earth.