Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Magma Bubbles from Mt Etna
Mt. Etna erupted spectacularly in 2001 June. Pictured above, the volcano was photographed expelling bubbles of hot magma, some of which measured over one meter across. One reason planetary geologists study Earth's Mt. Etna is because of its likely similarity to volcanoes on Mars. Mt.
NGC 613: Spiral of Dust and Stars
When morning twilight came to the Paranal Observatory in Chile, astronomers Mark Neeser and Peter Barthel interrupted their search for faint quasars, billions of light-years away. And just for a moment, they used Very Large Telescopes at the European Southern Observatory to appreciate the beauty of the nearby Universe.
IC 1396 Close Up
Clouds of glowing hydrogen gas mingle ominously with dark dust lanes in this close-up of IC 1396, an active star forming region some 2,000 light years away in the constellation Cepheus. In this and other similar emission nebulae, energetic ultraviolet light from a hot young star strips electrons from the surrounding hydrogen atoms.
An Unexplored Nebula
The combined light of the stars of the Milky Way are reflected by this cosmic dust cloud that soars some 300 light-years above the plane of our Galaxy. Dubbed the Angel Nebula by astronomer...
A Rocket Launch at Sunset
What kind of cloud is that? Last week, a sunset rocket launch lit up the sky and was photographed by sky enthusiasts as far as hundreds of miles away. The lingering result was a photogenic rocket plume.
The Star Pillars of Sharpless 171
Towering pillars of cold gas and dark dust adorn the center star forming region of Sharpless 171. An open cluster of stars is forming there from the gas in cold molecular clouds. As energetic...
Streams of Stars in the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies
How do huge clusters of galaxies evolve? To help find out, astronomers pointed the wide-angle Burrell-Schmidt telescope on Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona, USA at the nearby Virgo Cluster of Galaxies. After hundreds...
WMAP Resolves the Universe
Analyses of a new high-resolution map of microwave light emitted only 380,000 years after the Big Bang appear to define our universe more precisely than ever before. The eagerly awaited results announced last year from the orbiting Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe resolve several long-standing disagreements in cosmology rooted in less precise data.
Cat s Eye
Staring across interstellar space, the alluring Cat's Eye nebula lies three thousand light-years from Earth. A classic planetary nebula, the Cat's Eye (NGC 6543) represents a final, brief yet glorious phase in the life of a sun-like star.
Portrait of RY Tauri
A star emerges from its natal cloud of gas and dust in this tantalizing portrait of RY Tauri, a small stellar nursery at the edge of the Taurus molecular cloud, a mere 450 light-years away.