Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Chasing Juno
Wait for me! In 2011, NASA's robotic mission Juno launched for Jupiter from Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA. Last week, Juno reached Jupiter and fired internal rockets to become only the second spacecraft to orbit our Solar System's largest planet.
Aurorae on Jupiter
Jupiter has aurorae. Like Earth, the magnetic field of the gas giant funnels charged particles released from the Sun onto the poles. As these particles strike the atmosphere, electrons are temporarily knocked away from existing gas molecules. Electric force attracts these electrons back. As the electrons recombine to remake neutral molecules, auroral light is emitted.
Moon Meets Jupiter
What's that next to the Moon? Jupiter -- and its four largest moons. Skygazers around planet Earth enjoyed the close encounter of planets and Moon in 2012 July 15's predawn skies. And while...
Noctilucent Clouds Tour France
Bright noctilucent or night shining clouds are not familiar sights from northern France. But these electric-blue waves coursed through skies over the small town of Wancourt in Pas-de-Calais on July 6, just before the dawn.
The Swirling Core of the Crab Nebula
At the core of the Crab Nebula lies a city-sized, magnetized neutron star spinning 30 times a second. Known as the Crab Pulsar, it's actually the rightmost of two bright stars, just below a central swirl in this stunning Hubble snapshot of the nebula's core.
The Altiplano Night
The Milky Way is massively bright on this cold, clear, altiplano night. At 4,500 meters its reflection in a river, a volcanic peak on the distant horizon, is captured in this stitched panorama under naturally dark skies of the northern Chilean highlands near San Pedro de Atacama.
Arp 286: Trio in Virgo
A remarkable telescopic composition in yellow and blue, this scene features a trio of interacting galaxies almost 90 million light-years away, toward the constellation Virgo. On the right, two, spiky, foreground Milky Way stars echo the trio galaxy hues, a reminder that stars in our own galaxy are like those in the distant island universes.
The Colorful Clouds of Rho Ophiuchi
The many spectacular colors of the Rho Ophiuchi (oh'-fee-yu-kee) clouds highlight the many processes that occur there. The blue regions shine primarily by reflected light. Blue light from the star Rho Ophiuchi and nearby stars reflects more efficiently off this portion of the nebula than red light.
IC 4628: The Prawn Nebula
South of Antares, in the tail of the nebula-rich constellation Scorpius, lies emission nebula IC 4628. Nearby hot, massive stars, millions of years young, radiate the nebula with invisible ultraviolet light, stripping electrons from atoms. The electrons eventually recombine with the atoms to produce the visible nebular glow, dominated by the red emission of hydrogen.
The Cats Eye Nebula
Three thousand light-years away, a dying star throws off shells of glowing gas. This image from the Hubble Space Telescope reveals the Cat's Eye Nebula to be one of the most complex planetary nebulae known.