Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)A Gallery of Gravitational Mirages
The deeper you peer into the universe, the harder it is to see straight. The reason is that distant galaxies act as gravitational lenses, deflecting light that passes nearby. These deflections result in the distortion of background sources, and in some cases the creation of multiple images.
Uranus Moon 18
The discovery was there for the taking. An image of Uranus taken by Voyager 2 as it passed the giant planet 13 years ago apparently recorded a moon that had since gone unnoticed. The image on which Uranus' 18th moon was discovered was freely available from NASA. Erich Karkoschka (U.
Tycho Brahe Measures the Sky
Tycho Brahe was the most meticulous astronomical observer of his time. Brahe, who lived between 1546 and 1601, set out to solve the day's most pressing astronomical problem: to determine whether the Earth or the Sun was at the center of the Solar System.
The Ecliptic Plane
The Plane of the Ecliptic is illustrated in this Clementine star tracker camera image which reveals (from right to left) the Moon lit by Earthshine, the Sun's corona rising over the Moon's dark limb, and the planets Saturn, Mars, and Mercury.
Contrasting colors trace changing elevations in this new high-resolution topographic map of Mars. Just released, the data were gathered in 1998 and 1999 by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) onboard the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft.
NGC 4603 and the Expanding Universe
NGC 4603, a galaxy with majestic spiral arms and intricate dust lanes, is 108 million light-years away. Its distance has been accurately measured by astronomers using one of the fundamental yardsticks of the extragalactic distance scale - pulsating variable stars known as Cepheids.
GRB 990510: Another Unusual Gamma Ray Burst
Another huge explosion has lit up the universe, and astronomers are studying it as best they can before the light fades away. Two weeks ago, the BATSE instrument on the orbiting NASA Great Observatory Compton detected unusually bright flashes of gamma-rays from a point deep in the southern sky.
NGC 6872: A Stretched Spiral
What makes NGC 6872 so long? Measuring over 700,000 light years across from top to bottom, NGC 6872 is one of the largest barred spiral galaxies known. The galaxy's elongated shape might have something to do with its continuing collision with the smaller galaxy IC 4970, visible just above center.
Introducing Nova Velorum 1999
A bright nova was discovered Saturday that is currently visible to the unaided eye in southern skies. Nova Velorum 1999 was recorded near visual magnitude 3 independently by discoverers Peter Williams and Alan C. Gilmore (Mt. John U. Obs.), making it more luminous than many famous bright stars.
The Keyhole Nebula
The dark dusty Keyhole Nebula gets its name from its unusual shape. Officially designated NGC 3324, the Keyhole Nebula is a smaller region superposed on the larger Eta Carina Nebula. These nebulae were created by the dying star Eta Carina, which is prone to violent outbursts during its final centuries.