Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Blue Marble 2000
This newly released digital portrait of our planet is reminiscent of the Apollo-era pictures of the "big blue marble" Earth from space. To create it, researchers at Goddard Space Flight Center's Laboratory...
Redshift 5.8: A New Farthest Quasar
The distance record for a quasar has been broken yet again. At the present time, no other object in the universe has been found to be more distant than the above speck. The recently discovered quasar has been clocked at redshift 5.82.
Europa: Ice Line
This bright white swath cutting across the surface of icy Jovian moon Europa is known as Agenor Linea. In all about 1000 kilometers long and 5 kilometers wide, only a section is pictured here as part of a combined color and black and white image based on data from the Galileo spacecraft.
Flying Over Asteroid Eros West End
The robot spacecraft NEAR Shoemaker continues to orbit asteroid Eros. This condensed 40-minute long time-lapse sequence taken last month shows what it looks like to pass within 200 kilometers of Eros' west end. The north pole of the rotating mountain is toward the bottom of the picture.
IC 4406: A Seemingly Square Nebula
How can a round star make a square nebula? This conundrum came to light with the discovery of planetary nebulae like IC 4406. IC 4406 is most probably cylindrical, with its square appearance the result of our vantage point in viewing the cylinder.
This panorama of the cratered lunar surface was constructed from images returned by the US Surveyor 6 lander. Surveyor 6 was not the first spacecraft to accomplish a soft landing on the Moon ... but it was the first to land and then lift off again!
Supernova Remnant E0102 72 from Radio to X-Ray
Not all stars form a big Q after they explode. The shape of supernova remnant E0102-72, however, is giving astronomers a clue about how tremendous explosions disperse elements and interact with surrounded gas. The above image is a composite of three different photographs in three different types of light.
Exploring Comet Tails
Comets are known for their tails. In the spring of 1997 and 1996 Comet Hale-Bopp (above) and Comet Hyakutake gave us stunning examples as they passed near the Sun. These extremely active comets were...
The Local Bubble and the Galactic Neighborhood
What surrounds the Sun in this neck of the Milky Way Galaxy? Our current best guess is depicted in the above map of the surrounding 1500 light years constructed from various observations and deductions.
The Local Interstellar Cloud
The stars are not alone. In the disk of our Milky Way Galaxy about 10 percent of visible matter is in the form of gas, called the interstellar medium (ISM). The ISM is not uniform, and shows patchiness even near our Sun.