Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)On The Trail Of A Fireball
This exceptionally bright fireball meteor trail was photographed with a fish-eye camera at a Czech Republic station of the European Fireball Network on January 21, 1999. Of the star trails visible in this night-long exposure, the bright short arc in the upper left is due to Polaris, the north star.
Aerogel For Stardust
On February 7th, this honey comb of aluminum cells filled with aerogel was launched on the STARDUST mission to interplanetary space. STARDUST's goal is to capture dust from a comet's tail and return to planet Earth - the first sample return mission to a comet!
Hickson Compact Group 40
Galaxies, like stars, frequently form groups. A group of galaxies is a system containing more than two galaxies but less than the tens or hundreds typically found in a cluster of galaxies. A most...
The Large and Small of M87
The small core of elliptical galaxy M87 appears to be energizing its whole galactic neighborhood. Recent images from the Very Large Array (VLA) of radio telescopes indicate that huge bubbles of hot gas not only exist but are still being created. These bubbles measure 200,000 light-years across and surround the entire galaxy.
La Nina Earth
La Niña is a temporary climate change caused by unusually cold water in the central Pacific Ocean. Cold water topping an unusually low sea level is shown as purple in the above false-color picture taken by the orbiting TOPEX/Poseidon satellite in mid-January.
Dark Sky, Bright Sun
In low Earth orbit there is not enough atmosphere to diffuse and scatter sunlight, so shadows are black and the sky is dark - even when the Sun shines. The harsh lighting produced this dramatic...
Pluto: The Frozen Planet
This portrait of Pluto and its companion Charon was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 1994. Pluto is usually the most distant planet from the Sun but because of its eccentric orbit Pluto crossed inside of Neptune's orbit in 1979.
Lunar Close Up
Late last month, NASA's Lunar Prospector spacecraft moved in for a closer look at the Moon. Now entering an extended mission phase, controllers have reduced the altitude of this polar lunar orbiter from 100 kilometers to about 30 kilometers (18 miles).
A Disk and Jet in Haro 6-5B
Planets condense from disks. Several new Hubble Space Telescope pictures of stars surrounded by disks were released earlier this week. Since the glare of the central star usually makes a surrounding disk hard...
GRB 990123 Host Galaxy Imaged
Do the powerful explosions known as gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) originate in galaxies? This subject took on new light yesterday with the release of a Hubble Space Telescope image of the sky surrounding GRB 990123. This burst was first detected only two weeks ago and cataloged as one of the most powerful GRBs ever.