Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)M39: Open Cluster in Cygnus
Lying just at the limit of human perception is a picturesque starfield containing one of the larger open clusters on the northern sky. Spanning an angle larger than the Moon, M39's relatively few stars lie only about 800 light years distant toward the constellation of Cygnus.
A Prominent Solar Prominence from SOHO
One of the most spectacular solar sights is a prominence. A solar prominence is a cloud of solar gas held above the Sun's surface by the Sun's magnetic field. Last month, NASA's Sun-orbiting SOHO spacecraft imaged an impressively large prominence hovering over the surface, pictured above.
NASAs X 43A Scramjet Sets Air Speed Record
Using oxygen from the air itself, a NASA experimental jet propelled itself past Mach 7 in the atmosphere above the Pacific Ocean this weekend. The small automated X-43A Hyper-X craft was dropped from a huge converted B-52 bomber and then accelerated by a standard Pegasus rocket.
Stars and the Bubble Nebula
Seemingly adrift in a cosmic sea of stars and gas, this delicate, floating apparition is cataloged as NGC 7635 -- The Bubble Nebula. In this wide-angle view, the Bubble nebula lies at the center of a larger complex of shocked glowing gas about 11,000 light-years distant in the fair constellation Cassiopeia.
This dream-like image of Mir was recorded by astronauts as the Space Shuttle Atlantis approached the Russian space station prior to docking during the STS-76 mission. Sporting spindly appendages and solar panels...
Moon and Planets Sky
Look up into the sky tonight and without a telescope or binoculars you might have a view like this one of Moon, planets and stars. The lovely photo was taken on March 23rd, and captures the crescent Moon on the horizon with Venus above it. Both brilliant celestial bodies are over-exposed.
An Orion of a Different Color
Look up into the sky tonight, and even with a good telescope you won't come across a sight quite like this one. It is a familiar object though, the grand stellar nursery known as the Orion Nebula.
Intriguing Dimples Near Eagle Crater on Mars
What are those unusual looking dimples? Looking back toward Eagle crater, its landing place on Mars, the robot rover Opportunity has spotted some unusual depressions in the Martian soil. The dimples, visible above on the image left, each measure about one meter across and appear to have light colored rock in their interior.
Lava Flows on Venus
The hot surface of Venus shows clear signs of ancient lava flows. Evidence of this was bolstered by the robot spacecraft Magellan, which orbited Venus in the early 1990s. Using imaging radar, Magellan was able to peer beneath the thick perpetual clouds that cover Earth's closest planetary neighbor.
Asteroid 2004 FH Whizzes By
Last week, a small asteroid approached unusually close to the Earth. Asteroid 2004 FH posed no danger, but became bright enough to see with binoculars. Passing only 7 Earth radii away, this asteroid pass was the closest yet that was previously predicted, although it was discovered only two days before.