Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)The Missing Craters of Asteroid Itokawa
Where are the craters on asteroid Itokawa? No one knows. The Japanese robot probe Hayabusa recently approached the Earth-crossing asteroid and is returning pictures showing a surface unlike any other Solar System body yet photographed -- a surface possibly devoid of craters.
Rays from an Unexpected Aurora
This aurora was a bit of a surprise. For starters, on this Friday morning in August 2002, no intense auroral activity was expected at all. Possibly more surprising, however, the aurora appeared to show an usual structure of green rays from some locations.
NGC 2359: Thor s Helmet
(xxxedit and linkxxx) NGC 2359 is a striking emission nebula with an impressive popular name - Thor's Helmet. Sure, its suggestive winged appearance might lead some to refer to it as the "duck nebula", but if you were a nebula which name would you choose?
The 37 Cluster
For the mostly harmless denizens of planet Earth, the brighter stars of open cluster NGC 2169 seem to form a cosmic 37. (Did you expect 42?.) Of course, the improbable numerical asterism appears solely by chance and lies at an estimated distance of 3,600 light-years toward the constellation Orion.
Young Stars of NGC 346
Star cluster NGC 346 is embedded in the largest star forming region in the Small Magellanic Cloud, some 210,000 light-years distant. The massive stars of NGC 346 are short lived, but very energetic.
A Robots Shadow on Asteroid Itokawa
What's that unusual looking spot on asteroid Itokawa? It's the shadow of the robot spacecraft Hayabusa that took the image. Japan's Hayabusa mission arrived at the asteroid in early September and has been imaging and maneuvering around the floating space mountain ever since. The above picture was taken earlier this month.
A Taurid Meteor Fireball
Have you ever seen a very bright meteor? Unexpected, this year's Taurid meteor shower resulted in numerous reports of very bright fireballs during the nights surrounding Halloween. Pictured above, a fireball that momentarily rivaled the brightness of the full Moon was caught over Cerro Pachon, Chile by a continuous sky monitor on November 1.
Everest Panorama from Mars
If you could stand on Mars -- what might you see? Scroll right to find out. The robotic Spirit rover currently rolling across Mars climbed to the top of hill and took a series of images that were digitally combined into a 360 degree panorama over three days early last month.
Our Moon's appearance changes nightly. This time-lapse sequence shows what our Moon looks like during a lunation, a complete lunar cycle. As the Moon orbits the Earth, the half illuminated by the Sun first becomes increasingly visible, then decreasingly visible. The Moon always keeps the same face toward the Earth.
This panorama of the cratered lunar surface was constructed from images returned by the US Surveyor 6 lander. Surveyor 6 was not the first spacecraft to accomplish a soft landing on the Moon ... but it was the first to land and then lift off again!