Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Barnards Loop Around Orion
Why is the belt of Orion surrounded by a bubble? Although glowing like an emission nebula, the origin of the bubble, known as Barnard's Loop, is currently unknown. Progenitor hypotheses include the winds from bright Orion stars and the supernovas of stars long gone.
Orion in Infrared
Do you recognize the constellation Orion? This striking but unfamiliar looking picture of the familiar Orion region of the sky was produced using survey data from the now-defunct InfraRed Astronomical Satellite (IRAS). The above image combines information recorded at three different invisible infrared wavelengths and covers about 30x24 degrees on the sky.
Saturnian Moon and Rings
When can a robot produce art? When it glides past the rings of Saturn, for one. As the robot spacecraft Cassini orbiting Saturn crossed outside the famous photogenic ring plane of the expansive planet, the rings were imaged from the outside, nearly edge on, and in the shadow of Saturn.
Asteroids in the Distance
Rocks from space hit Earth every day. The larger the rock, though, the less often Earth is struck. Many kilograms of space dust pitter to Earth daily. Larger bits appear initially as a bright meteor. Baseball-sized rocks and ice-balls streak through our atmosphere daily, most evaporating quickly to nothing.
Celebrating Hubble With NGC 6751
Planetary nebulae can look simple, round, and planet-like in small telescopes. But images from the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope have become well known for showing these fluorescent gas shrouds of dying Sun-like stars to possess a staggering variety of detailed symmetries and shapes.
RCW 79: Stars in a Bubble
A cosmic bubble of gas and dust, RCW 79 has grown to about 70 light-years in diameter, blown by the winds and radiation from hot young stars. Infrared light from the dust embedded in the nebula is tinted red in this gorgeous false-color view from the Spitzer Space Telescope.
April s Moon and the Pleiades
After parting with the Sun late last week, April's moon graced the early evening sky. Its slender, three-day-old crescent shares this lovely telescopic skyview with the nearby Pleiades star cluster. Here, the Moon...
A Window to the Once Secret Sky
If there was a window nearby to the distant universe -- would you look through it? Quite possibly, there is, in the form of a small telescope. A local skykeeper could be a relative or a stranger and is frequently proud to show off the sky free of charge.
Earth or Mars
Which image is Earth, and which is Mars? One of the above images was taken by the robot Spirit rover currently climbing Husband Hill on Mars. The other image was taken by a human across the desert south of Morocco on Earth. Both images show vast plains covered with rocks and sand.
Clouds, Plane, Sun, Eclipse
How can part of the Sun just disappear? When that part is really hiding behind the Moon. Last Friday, the first partial solar eclipse of 2005 and the last total eclipse of the Sun until March 2006 was visible. During a solar eclipse, the Sun, Moon and Earth are aligned.