Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Mountains of Creation
This fantastic skyscape lies at the eastern edge of giant stellar nursery W5, about 7,000 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia. An infrared view from the Spitzer Space Telescope, it features interstellar clouds...
How would you change the course of an Earth-threatening asteroid? One idea - a massive spacecraft that uses gravity as a towline - is illustrated in this dramatic artist's view of a gravitational tractor in action.
A Solar Prominence from SOHO
What happened to the Sun? Nothing very unusual: the strange-looking solar appendage on the lower left is actually just a spectacular looking version of a common solar prominence. A solar prominence is a cloud of solar gas held above the Sun's surface by the Sun's magnetic field.
The Drifts of Mars
What would it be like to walk across Mars? The robot Opportunity rover is currently experiencing what it is like to roll across part of the red planet. It's not always easy -- the rover is being instructed to dodge the deeper drifts of dark sand.
NGC 7635: The Bubble Nebula
It's the bubble versus the cloud. NGC 7635, the Bubble Nebula, is being pushed out by the stellar wind of massive central star BD+602522. Next door, though, lives a giant molecular cloud, visible above to the lower right.
A Sunspot Up Close
Why would a small part of the Sun appear slightly dark? Visible above is a close-up picture of a sunspot, a depression on the Sun's face that is slightly cooler and less luminous than the rest of the Sun.
Aurora from Space
From the ground, spectacular auroras seem to dance high above. But the International Space Station (ISS) orbits at nearly the same height as many auroras, sometimes passing over them, and sometimes right through them. Still, the auroral electron and proton streams pose no direct danger to the ISS.
M78: Stardust and Starlight
Interstellar dust clouds and bright nebulae abound in the fertile constellation of Orion. One of the brightest, M78, is just below center in this sharp widefield view, covering an area north of Orion's belt. At a distance of about 1,500 light-years, the bluish nebula itself is about 5 light-years across.
Possible Pluto Moons
In 1930, tiny, icy world Pluto was discovered orbiting in the distant solar system. In 1978, its relatively large companion Charon was detected by ground-based observations. This year, the Hubble Space Telescope may well have detected two further members of the Pluto system.
Epimetheus and Janus: Interchangeable Moons of Saturn
These two moons change places. Epimetheus and Janus, two small moons of Saturn, actually switch positions as they orbit their home planet. The orbital radii of the moons are strangely separated by less than the radii of the moons themselves: about 50 kilometers. One moon orbits Saturn well ahead of the other, at first.