Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Planetary Nebula Mz3: The Ant Nebula
Why isn't this ant a big sphere? Planetary nebula Mz3 is being cast off by a star similar to our Sun that is, surely, round. Why then would the gas that is streaming away create an ant-shaped nebula that is distinctly not round?
The Moons of Earth
While orbiting the planet during their June 1998 mission, the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery photographed this view of two moons of Earth. Thick storm clouds are visible in the lovely blue planet...
Small Moon Epimetheus
Small saturnian moon Epimetheus (ep-ee-MEE-thee-us) is at most 116 kilometers across. Its cratered surface and irregular shape are highlighted by dramatic shadows in this composite close-up image from the Cassini spacecraft. However, orbiting 91,000 kilometers above Saturn's cloud tops, Epimetheus is not alone.
M51: Cosmic Whirlpool
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.
The Hercules Cluster of Galaxies
These are galaxies of the Hercules Cluster, an archipelago of "island universes" a mere 650 million light-years distant. This cluster is loaded with gas and dust rich, star forming, spiral galaxies but has relatively few elliptical galaxies, which lack gas and dust and the associated newborn stars.
A Martian Dust Devil Passes
What goes there across the plains of Mars? A dust devil. For the first time, definitive movies of the famous spinning dust towers have been created from ground level. The robot rover Spirit has now imaged several dust devils from its hillside perch just within the past two months.
The Fairy of Eagle Nebula
The dust sculptures of the Eagle Nebula are evaporating. As powerful starlight whittles away these cool cosmic mountains, the statuesque pillars that remain might be imagined as mythical beasts. Pictured above is one of several striking dust pillars of the Eagle Nebula that might be described as a gigantic alien fairy.
M16: Stars from Eagle's EGGs
Newborn stars are forming in the Eagle Nebula. This image, taken with the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995, shows evaporating gaseous globules (EGGs) emerging from pillars of molecular hydrogen gas and dust. The giant pillars are light years in length and are so dense that interior gas contracts gravitationally to form stars.
Eclipsed Moon in Infrared
In September of 1996, the Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX) satellite had a spectacular view of a total lunar eclipse from Earth orbit. SPIRIT III, an on board infrared telescope, was used to repeatedly image the moon during the eclipse.
Albert Einstein s Miraculous Year
In 1905 Albert Einstein had a miraculous year. One hundred years ago, he wrote four papers which revolutionized our understanding of the Universe. The papers outlined; the idea that light could behave...