Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Atlantis to Orbit
Birds don't fly this high. Airplanes don't go this fast. The Statue of Liberty weighs less. No species other than human can even comprehend what is going on, nor could any human just a millennium ago. The launch of a rocket bound for space is an event that inspires awe and challenges description.
NGC 1977: Blue Reflection Nebula in Orion
The Orion Nebula is visible to the unaided eye as a fuzzy patch near the famous belt of three stars in the Orion. The above picture captures a part of the Orion Nebula that primarily reflects light from bright Orion stars.
25 Years Ago: Vikings on Mars
On July 20, 1976, NASA's Viking 1 lander become the first spacecraft to land on Mars, followed weeks later by its twin robot explorer, the Viking 2 lander. Operating on the Martian surface...
The Elephant s Trunk in IC 1396
Like a picture from a galactic Just So Story, the Elephant's Trunk Nebula winds through the emission nebula and young star cluster complex IC 1396, in the high and far off constellation of Cepheus. Bright swept-back ridges compose the suggestive form, outlining pockets of interstellar dust and gas.
Pulsar Wind in the Vela Nebula
The Vela pulsar was born 10,000 years ago at the center of a supernova -- an exploding star. In this Chandra Observatory x-ray image, the pulsar still produces a glowing nebula at the heart of the expanding cloud of stellar debris.
Mars from Earth
Last month, Mars and Earth were right next to each other in their orbits. Formally called opposition, the event was highlighted by a very bright Mars for skywatchers and a good photo opportunity for the Hubble Space Telescope. Above, Hubble snapped the highest resolution picture of Mars ever obtained from the Earth.
The Carina Nebula in Three Colors
Stars, like people, do not always go gentle into that good night. The above Carina Nebula, also known as the Keyhole Nebula and NGC 3372, results from dying star Eta Carinae's violently casting off dust and gas during its final centuries.
Water Found Around Nearby Star CW Leonis
Do worlds outside our Solar System have oceans of water like Earth? An indication that such worlds might exist was bolstered recently by new evidence that nearby star system CW Leonis harbors water. Recent observations with the Submillimeter Wave Astronomy Satellite (SWAS) found significant detections of light at specific colors emitted by water.
Io in True Color
The strangest moon in the Solar System is bright yellow. This picture, showing Io's true colors, was taken in 1999 July by the Galileo spacecraft currently orbiting Jupiter. Io's colors derive from sulfur and molten silicate rock. The unusual surface of Io is kept very young by its system of active volcanoes.
Solar System Web Cam
Ranging throughout the solar system, these pictures all have something in common. They were taken with an 8 inch diameter telescope, a size popular with amateur astronomy buffs, and slightly modified "web cam" of the type widely used to send images out over the internet.