Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Stars and Globules in the Running Chicken Nebula
The eggs from this gigantic chicken may form into stars. The featured emission nebula, shown in scientifically assigned colors, is cataloged as IC 2944 but known as the Running Chicken Nebula for the shape of its greater appearance. Seen toward the bottom of the image are small, dark molecular clouds rich in obscuring cosmic dust.
Stars and Planets over Portugal
The mission was to document night-flying birds -- but it ended up also documenting a beautiful sky. The featured wide-angle mosaic was taken over the steppe golden fields in Mцrtola, Portugal in 2020. From such a dark location, an immediately-evident breathtaking glow arched over the night sky: the central band of our Milky Way galaxy.
Shuttle Over Earth
What's that approaching? Astronauts on board the International Space Station in 2010 first saw it far in the distance. Soon it enlarged to become a dark silhouette. As it came even closer, the silhouette appeared to be a spaceship.
Taken with a camera fixed to a tripod, many short exposures were aligned with the stars to unveil this beautiful, dark night sky. Captured near the rural village of Albany`a at the northeastern corner of Spain, the three stars of Orion's belt stretch across top center in the starry frame.
The Gator Back Rocks of Mars
Wind-sharpened rocks known as ventifacts, cover this broad sloping plain in the foot hills of Mount Sharp, Gale crater, Mars. Dubbed gator-back rocks their rugged, scaly appearance is captured in these digitally stitched Mastcam frames from the Curiosity rover on mission sol 3,415 (March 15, 2022).
Spiral arms seem to swirl around the core of Messier 96 in this colorful, detailed portrait of a beautiful island universe. Of course M96 is a spiral galaxy, and counting the faint arms extending beyond the brighter central region it spans 100 thousand light-years or so.
Milky Way over Devils Tower
What created Devils Tower? The origin of this extraordinary rock monolith in Wyoming, USA is still debated, with a leading hypothesis holding that it is a hardened lava plume that never reached the surface to become a volcano.
N11: Star Clouds of the LMC
Massive stars, abrasive winds, mountains of dust, and energetic light sculpt one of the largest and most picturesque regions of star formation in the Local Group of Galaxies. Known as N11, the region...
A Space Station Crosses a Busy Sun
Typically, the International Space Station is visible only at night. Slowly drifting across the night sky as it orbits the Earth, the International Space Station (ISS) can be seen as a bright spot several times a year from many locations.
Shadows at the Moons South Pole
Was this image of the Moon's surface taken with a microscope? No -- it's a multi-temporal illumination map made with a wide-angle camera. To create it, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft collected...