Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)The Fogs of Mars
Fogs of clouds and dust covered parts of southern Mars during last Martian winter. Giant volcanoes, such as Ascraeus Mons, the central circular feature near the top of the image, were surrounded by large water clouds. Slightly southwest, Pavonis Mons and Arisa Mons also peeked above their water clouds.
GRO J1655 40: Evidence for a Spinning Black Hole
In the center of a swirling whirlpool of hot gas is likely a beast that has never been seen directly: a black hole. Studies of the bright light emitted by the swirling gas frequently indicate not only that a black hole is present, but also likely attributes.
NGC 1818: Pick A Star
This is NGC 1818, a youthful, glittering cluster of 20,000 stars residing in the Large Magellanic Cloud, 180,000 light-years away. Pick a star. Any star. Astronomers might pick the unassuming bluish-white one (circled) which appears to be a hot newly formed white dwarf star. What makes it so interesting?
Ring of Fire Revisited
Early on Saturday, May 31 (UT) the new Moon will once again slide across the Sun's fiery disk, and once again an annular solar eclipse will be the result -- since the Moon's apparent diameter will be a little too small to completely cover the Sun.
Scientific images of cosmic dust clouds or even frozen water can be esthetic too. In fact, this picture of thin layers of forming ice crystals uses a scientific understanding of light's wave properties solely for artistic purposes. Titled "Illume", the picture was created by astrophysicist Peter Wasilewski.
72.6: Oxygen Supply
A supernova explosion, a massive star's inevitable and spectacular demise, blasts back into space debris enriched in the heavy elements forged in its stellar core. Incorporated into future stars and planets, these are the elements ultimately necessary for life.
A Mercury Transit Sequence
Earlier this month, the planet Mercury crossed the face of the Sun, as seen from Earth. Because the plane of Mercury's orbit is not exactly coincident with the plane of Earth's orbit, Mercury usually appears to pass over or under the Sun.
The Earth and Moon from Mars
What does Earth look like from Mars? The first image of Earth from the red planet was captured earlier this month by the camera onboard the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft currently orbiting Mars. Features visible on Earth include the Pacific Ocean, clouds, much of South America, and part of North America.
Spiral Galaxy NGC 253 Almost Sideways
NGC 253 is a normal spiral galaxy seen here almost sideways. It is the largest member of the Sculptor Group of Galaxies, the nearest group to our own Local Group of Galaxies.
M74: The Perfect Spiral
If not perfect, then this spiral galaxy is at least one of the most photogenic. An island universe of about 100 billion stars, 30 million light-years away toward the constellation Pisces, NGC 628 or M74 presents a gorgeous face-on view to earthbound astronomers.