Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Milky Way Molecule Map
Where are the Milky Way's gas clouds and where are they going? Stars form in gas clouds, and the motion of gas clouds tell us about the size and rotation speed of our own Milky Way Galaxy.
Hale-Bopp and Orion
Comet Hale-Bopp is still brighter than most constellations. In fact, Comet Hale-Bopp may now hold the record for staying bright the longest. Last week the comet was photographed above in the same field...
Io's Sodium Cloud
Io has its own cloud. Jupiter's most active moon is visible on the left of the above false-color photograph, with its left side illuminated by sunlight. But what is happening on Io's right side? Here a plume of gas from the active volcano Prometheus also reflects sunlight.
Sputnik: Traveling Companion
Sputnik means "traveling companion". Despite the innocuous sounding name, the launch of the Earth's first "artificial moon", Sputnik 1, by the Soviets on October 4, 1957 shocked the free world, setting in motion events which resulted in the creation of NASA and the race to the Moon.
The Perseus Cluster of Galaxies
Here is one of the largest objects that anyone will ever see on the sky. Each of the fuzzy blobs in the above picture is a galaxy, together making up the Perseus Cluster, one of the closest clusters of galaxies.
Light polarization is familiar to many outdoor enthusiasts who use polarizing sunglasses to cut the glare of reflected light. These two views of comet Hale-Bopp also demonstrate the effect of polarization. At left...
The Frothy Milky Way
Astronomers have recently discovered that looking at dust along the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy is a bit like looking into a frothy glass of beer. The dust between stars in our galaxy...
Antlia: A New Galactic Neighbor
Meet Antlia, a newly discovered neighbor of our Milky Way Galaxy. Announced just last week, this faint member of our Local Group of Galaxies has only about one million stars. It is late in being noticed because it is so hard to see against a bright sky.
Historic Optical Flash Fades
The largest telescopes in the world have scrambled to point toward this faint, fading object. Why? Because it may well be the first active optical counterpart ever found for a gamma-ray burst, and could hold the clue to the distance scale to this most enigmatic class of astronomical objects.
Big Sky Comet
On April 17th, "Big Sky" country sure lived up to its name. The dark skies over the US states of Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas were quite busy, as shown by this photograph featuring Comet Hale-Bopp. In the foreground is the Absaroka Mountain Range in Wyoming, lit by reflected moonlight.