Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Orion Nebula, The Hubble View
Few cosmic vistas excite the imagination like the Orion Nebula. Also known as M42, the nebula's glowing gas surrounds hot young stars at the edge of an immense interstellar molecular cloud only 1,500 light-years away.
Cartwheel Of Fortune
By chance, a collision of two galaxies has created a surprisingly recognizable shape on a cosmic scale - The Cartwheel Galaxy. The Cartwheel is part of a group of galaxies about 400 million light years away in the constellation Sculptor (two smaller galaxies in the group are visible below and left).
A Roll Cloud Over Missouri
What kind of cloud is this? A roll cloud. These rare long clouds may form near advancing cold fronts. In particular, a downdraft from an advancing storm front can cause moist warm air to rise, cool below its dew point, and so form a cloud.
Stardust Capsule Returns to Earth
A flying saucer from outer space crash-landed in the Utah desert yesterday after being tracked by radar and chased by helicopters and airplanes. Like last time, no space aliens were involved. The saucer...
The Sombrero Galaxy from HST
Why does the Sombrero Galaxy look like a hat? Reasons include the Sombrero's unusually large and extended central bulge of stars, and dark prominent dust lanes that appear in a disk that we see nearly edge-on. Billions of old stars cause the diffuse glow of the extended central bulge.
Lunokhod: Moon Robot
On November 17, 1970 the Soviet Luna 17 spacecraft landed the first roving remote-controlled robot on the Moon. Known as Lunokhod 1, it weighed just under 2,000 pounds and was designed to operate...
Stars of the Galactic Center
The center of our Milky Way Galaxy is hidden from the prying eyes of optical telescopes by clouds of obscuring dust and gas. But in this stunning vista, the Spitzer Space Telescope's infrared cameras, penetrate much of the dust revealing the stars of the crowded galactic center region.
Over six hundred light years from Earth, in the constellation Aquarius, a sun-like star is dying. Its last few thousand years have produced the Helix Nebula (NGC 7293), a well studied and nearby example of a Planetary Nebula, typical of this final phase of stellar evolution.
The Tadpoles of IC 410
This close-up view shows a portion of otherwise faint emission nebula IC 410 in striking false-colors. It also shows two remarkable denizens of the glowing gas cloud at the right - the "tadpoles" of IC 410. The picture is a composite of images taken through narrow band filters intended to trace atoms in the nebula.
The Phases of Venus
Venus goes through phases. Just like our Moon, Venus can appear as full as a disk or as a thin as a crescent. Venus, frequently the brightest object in the post-sunset or pre-sunrise sky, appears so small, however, that it usually requires binoculars or a small telescope to clearly see its current phase.