Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)A Close-Up of the Lagoon's Hourglass
In the central part of the Lagoon Nebula lies the above pictured Hourglass Nebula. In this region of recent star formation, obscuring dark lanes of dust permeate the red-glowing hydrogen gas. Blocking some...
A Close-Up of the Lagoon Nebula
Ribbons of red-glowing gas and dark dust surround massive young stars in this close-up of the Lagoon Nebula taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. The Lagoon Nebula is relatively close and bright - it appears larger than the Full Moon and is visible even without a telescope.
Welcome to Planet Earth
Welcome to Planet Earth, the third planet from a star named the Sun. The Earth is shaped like a sphere and composed mostly of rock. Over 70 percent of the Earth's surface is water. The planet has a relatively thin atmosphere composed mostly of nitrogen and oxygen.
A Milestone Quasar
Here is a rather typical quasar. But since quasars are so unusual it is quite atypical of most familiar objects. Of the two bright objects in the center of this photo, the quasar is on the left.
A Meteorite From Mars
The famous Martian meteorite pictured above houses microscopic structures interpreted by many as fossils of ancient Martian life. How do you find a meteorite from Mars here on Earth? On a typical day, several large rocks fall to Earth from space, usually winding up in the oceans.
NGC 604: Giant Stellar Nursery in M33
The nebula cataloged as NGC 604 is a giant star forming region, 1500 light years across, in the nearby spiral galaxy, M33. Seen here in a snapshot by the Hubble Space Telescope, over 200 newly formed, hot, massive, stars are scattered within a cavern-like, gaseous, interstellar cloud.
Galileo Views Io Eruption
Io's surface is active. Geyser-like eruptions from volcanoes on this Jovian moon were seen by both Voyager spacecraft in 1979 and were also spotted this year in late June by Galileo's camera from a distance of about 600,000 miles.
Galileo Explores Europa
Details of the crazed cracks criss-crossing Europa's frozen surface are apparent in this mosaic of the Galileo spacecraft's latest images of Jupiter's ice-covered moon. Curious white stripes, also seen by Voyager, are clearly visible marking the center of the wide dark fractures.
Voyager spacecraft images of Europa's surface, like the one above, are suggestive of sea ice on Earth. The criss-crossing dark streaks may indeed be cracks in its ice-covered surface caused by Jupiter's tidal stresses accompanied by the freezing and expansion of an underlying layer of water.
Leo Triplet Spiral Galaxy M65
Spiral galaxy M65 is a normal spiral galaxy not unlike our own Milky Way. In fact, M65 is a typical spiral galaxy of a type that could be found anywhere in the local universe. Given a morphological type of "Sa", M65 shows tightly wrapped spiral arms and a large nuclear central bulge.