Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)The Snake Nebula in Ophiuchus
What slithers there? The dark curly lanes visible in part of the constellation Ophiuchus belong to the Snake Nebula. The Snake Nebula is a series of dark absorption clouds. Interstellar dust grains - composed predominantly of carbon - absorb visible starlight and reradiate much of it in the infrared.
Unusual Spiral Galaxy M66
Spiral galaxy M66 is largest galaxy in the a group known as the Leo Triplet. M66 is somewhat peculiar because of its asymmetric spiral arms. Usually dense waves of gas, dust, and newly formed stars - called spiral density waves - circle a galactic center and create a symmetric galaxy.
The Perseid Meteor Shower
From a radiant point in the constellation of Perseus, Comet Swift-Tuttle presents -- The Perseid Meteor Shower -- coming to your night sky this weekend! A bookish E. C. Herrick of New Haven, Connecticut correctly suspected in 1837 that this meteor shower was an annual event.
Pictured: An Ancient Martian?
Alien! Alien? Is this what an ancient Martian looked like? The tube-like form on the above highly magnified image is now believed by many to be a fossil of a simple Martian organism that lived over 3.6 billion years ago.
Early Microscopic Life on Mars?
Today a team of NASA and Stanford scientists announced the discovery of strong circumstantial evidence that microscopic life once existed on Mars. Dr. David McKay, Dr. Everett Gibson, and Kathie Thomas-Keprta of Lockheed-Martin, all from (NASA /JSC), and Dr.
Europa: Oceans of Life?
Is there life beneath Europa's frozen surface? Some believe the oceans found there of carbon-enriched water are the best chance for life, outside the Earth, in our Solar System. Europa, the fourth largest moon of Jupiter, was recently discovered to have a thin oxygen atmosphere by scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope.
Erupting Volcanoes on Io
Jupiter's moon Io has active volcanoes. The Voyager spacecraft caught several erupting when they passed the energetic moon in 1979. In the above picture, several of Io's volcanoes are visible and one is seen actually erupting.
NGC 3393: A Super Spiral?
A bird? A plane? No, but pictured here is something physically much larger, flying much higher, and moving much faster than either of these. It is, in fact, a Seyfert type 2 spiral galaxy. The "S" is actually a lane of stars, gas and dust circling the core.
Jupiter's Colorful Clouds
What makes the colors in Jupiter's clouds? With a mean temperature of 120 degrees Kelvin (-153 degrees Celsius) and a composition dominated by Hydrogen (about 90%), and Helium (about 10%) with a smattering...
Galileo, Cassini, and the Great Red Spot
Imagine a hurricane that lasted for 300 years! Jupiter's Great Red Spot indeed seems to be a giant hurricane-like storm system rotating with the Jovian clouds. Observed in 1655 by Italian-French astronomer Jean-Dominique Cassini it is seen here over 300 years later - still going strong - in a mosaic of recent Galileo spacecraft images.