Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)The Launch of OSIRIS REx
Near sunset on Thursday, clear skies saw the launch of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Sporting a single solid rocket booster, its Atlas V vehicle blasts off from Cape Canaveral's Complex 41 in this low, wide-angle view toward launch pad and setting Sun. OSIRIS-REx is bound for Bennu, scheduled to encounter the mountain-sized asteroid in 2018.
The Wide and Deep Lagoon
Ridges of glowing interstellar gas and dark dust clouds inhabit the turbulent, cosmic depths of the Lagoon Nebula. Also known as M8, the bright star forming region is about 5,000 light-years distant.
Mars in the Clouds
Wandering through this stunning field of view, Mars really is in front of these colorful cosmic clouds. The mosaic contructed from telescopic images is about 5 degrees (10 full moons) across. It captures...
Eclipse to Sunset
September's eclipse of the Sun is documented in the 68 frames of this timelapse composite. Starting at 1pm local time a frame every 4 minutes follow's the progress of the New Moon across the solar disk.
The Whirlpool Galaxy and Beyond
Follow the handle of the Big Dipper away from the dipper's bowl, until you get to the handle's last bright star. Then, just slide your telescope a little south and west and you might find this stunning pair of interacting galaxies, the 51st entry in Charles Messier's famous catalog.
Spiral Meteor through the Heart Nebula
What is this meteor doing? Dynamically, the unusually short and asymmetric train may indicate that the sand-sized grain at the center of the glow is momentarily spinning as it ablates, causing its path to be slightly spiral.
Io over Jupiter from Voyager 1
Back in 1979, NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft flew past Jupiter and its moons. The images in this mosaic, featuring the moon Io against a background of gas giant Jupiter's diffuse swirling cloud bands, were recorded by Voyager's camera from a distance of about 8.3 million kilometers.
Reunion Island Eclipse
The New Moon's dark shadow crossed planet Earth on September 1. In silhouette the Moon didn't quite cover the Sun though, creating an an annular solar eclipse. The shadow's narrow central path was about 100 kilometers wide at maximum eclipse.
Little Planet Astro Camp
Day and night on this little planet look a lot like day and night on planet Earth. In fact, the images used to construct the little planet projection, a digitally warped and stitched mosaic covering 360x180 degrees, were taken during day and night near Tarján, Hungary, planet Earth.
Light at the End of the Road
The bright light at the end of this country road is actually a remarkably close conjunction of two planets. After sunset on August 27 brilliant Venus and Jupiter almost appear as a single celestial beacon in the night skyscape taken near Lake Wivenhoe, Queensland, Australia.