Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Hale-Bopp Above the Cinqui Torri Mountains
Hale-Bopp may be the most photographed comet in history. Above, our photogenic giant flying snowball appeared last month as a backdrop to the "Cinque Torri" Mountains near Contina d'Ampezzo, Italy. Although the comet...
An Auroral Ring on Jupiter
Do other planets have aurora? Terrestrial and spacecraft observations have found evidence for aurora on Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. In the above false-color photograph, a good portion of an auroral ring was captured recently in optical light by the Galileo spacecraft in orbit around Jupiter.
M101: An Ultraviolet View
This giant spiral galaxy, Messier 101 (M101), was photographed by the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UIT). UIT flew into orbit as part of the Astro 2 mission on-board the Space Shuttle Endeavour in March 1995. The image has been processed so that the colors (purple to white) represent an increasing intensity of ultraviolet light.
Apollo 15: Driving on the Moon
Apollo 15 astronaut James Irwin works on the first Lunar Roving Vehicle, before he and fellow astronaut David Scott take it out for a drive. Sloping up behind the lunar module "Falcon" on the left are lunar mountains Hadley Delta and Apennine Front, while about 5 kilometers behind Irwin is St. George Crater.
Even great observatories need a boost from time to time -- including the orbiting Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory. Sparkling reflections and the bright limb of the Earth are visible in this 1991 window view of Compton's release into orbit by the crew of the Space Shuttle Atlantis.
A dim double star system cataloged as Gliese 623 lies 25 light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Hercules. The individual stars of this binary system were distinguished for the first time when the Hubble Space Telescope's Faint Object Camera recorded this image in June 1994.
NGC 2070 is an immense star forming region in a nearby galaxy known as the Large Magellanic Cloud. Its spidery appearance is responsible for its popular name, "The Tarantula Nebula", except that this tarantula is about 1,000 light-years across, and 165,000 light-years away in the southern constellation Dorado.
Venus' Once Molten Surface
If you could look at Venus with radar eyes - this is what you might see. This computer reconstruction of the surface of Venus was created from data from the Magellan spacecraft. Magellan orbited Venus and used radar to map our neighboring planet's surface between 1990 and 1994.
Bright Star Knots in NGC 4038
This galaxy is having a bad millennium. In fact, the past 100 million years haven't been so good, and probably the next billion or so should be quite tumultuous. NGC 4039 was a normal spiral galaxy, minding its own business, when NGC 4038 crashed into it.
M100: A Grand Design
Majestic on a truly cosmic scale, M100 is appropriately known as a Grand Design spiral galaxy. A large galaxy of over 100 billion or so stars with well defined spiral arms, it is similar to our own Milky Way.