Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Perseverance: Seven Minutes to Mars
How hard is it to land safely on Mars? So hard that many more attempts have failed than succeeded. The next attempt will be on Thursday. The main problem is that the Martian atmosphere is too thick to ignore -- or it will melt your spacecraft.
Landing on Mars: Seven Minutes of Terror
Starting Thursday, there may be an amazing new robotic explorer on Mars. Or there may be a new pile of junk. It all likely depends on things going correctly in the minutes after the Mars 2020 mission arrives at its new home planet and attempts to deploy the Perseverance rover.
Long Stem Rosette Nebula
Would the Rosette Nebula by any other name look as sweet? The bland New General Catalog designation of NGC 2237 doesn't appear to diminish the appearance of this flowery emission nebula, at the top of the image, atop a long stem of glowing hydrogen gas.
Get out your red/blue glasses and float next to asteroid 433 Eros. Orbiting the Sun once every 1.8 years, the near-Earth asteroid is named for the Greek god of love. Still, its shape more closely resembles a lumpy potato than a heart.
Spiral Galaxy NGC 1350
This gorgeous island universe lies about 85 million light-years distant in the southern constellation Fornax. Inhabited by young blue star clusters, the tightly wound spiral arms of NGC 1350 seem to join in a circle around the galaxy's large, bright nucleus, giving it the appearance of a cosmic eye.
Cygnus Mosaic 2010 2020
In brush strokes of interstellar dust and glowing gas, this beautiful skyscape is painted across the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy near the northern end of the Great Rift and the constellation Cygnus the Swan.
Firing Lasers to Tame the Sky
Why do stars twinkle? Our atmosphere is to blame as pockets of slightly off-temperature air, in constant motion, distort the light paths from distant astronomical objects. Atmospheric turbulence is a problem for astronomers because it blurs the images of the sources they want to study.
Flashes of the Crab Pulsar
It somehow survived an explosion that would surely have destroyed our Sun. Now it is spins 30 times a second and is famous for the its rapid flashes. It is the Crab Pulsar, the rotating neutron star remnant of the supernova that created the Crab Nebula.
WR32 and Interstellar Clouds in Carina
Stars can be like artists. With interstellar gas as a canvas, a massive and tumultuous Wolf-Rayet star has created the picturesque ruffled half-circular filaments called WR32, on the image left. Additionally, the winds...
Blue Straggler Stars in Globular Cluster M53
If our Sun were part of this star cluster, the night sky would glow like a jewel box of bright stars. This cluster, known as M53 and cataloged as NGC 5024, is one of about 250 globular clusters that survive in our Galaxy.