Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Great Conjunction: Saturn and Jupiter Converge
It's happening. Saturn and Jupiter are moving closer and will soon appear in almost exactly the same direction. Coincidentally, on the night of the December solstice -- the longest night of the year in the north and the longest day in the south -- the long-awaited Great Conjunction will occur.
Capsule Returns from Asteroid Ryugu
The streak across the sky is a capsule returning from an asteroid. It returned earlier this month from the near-Earth asteroid 162173 Ryugu carrying small rocks and dust from its surface. The canister...
Geminid Meteors over Xinglong Observatory
Where do Geminid meteors come from? In terms of location on the sky, as the featured image composite beautifully demonstrates, the sand-sized bits of rock that create the streaks of the Geminids meteor shower appear to flow out from the constellation of Gemini.
Saturn and Jupiter in Summer 2020
During this northern summer Saturn and Jupiter were both near opposition, opposite the Sun in planet Earth's sky. Their paired retrograde motion, seen about every 20 years, is followed from 19 June through 28 August in this panoramic composite as they wander together between the stars in western Capricornus and eastern Sagittarius.
Messier Craters in Stereo
Many bright nebulae and star clusters in planet Earth's sky are associated with the name of astronomer Charles Messier from his famous 18th century catalog. His name is also given to these two large and remarkable craters on the Moon.
Simeis 147: Supernova Remnant
It's easy to get lost following the intricate looping filaments in this detailed image of supernova remnant Simeis 147. Also cataloged as Sharpless 2-240 it goes by the popular nickname, the Spaghetti Nebula.
Arecibo Telescope Collapse
This was one great scientific instrument. Starting in 1963, the 305-meters across Arecibo Telescope in Puerto Rico USA reigned as the largest single-dish radio telescope in the world for over 50 years. Among numerous...
Great Conjunction over Sicilian Lighthouse
DonБt miss the coming great conjunction. In just under two weeks, the two largest planets in our Solar System will angularly pass so close together in Earth's sky that the Moon would easily be able to cover them both simultaneously. This pending planetary passage -- on December 21 -- will be the closest since 1623.
Mammatus Clouds over Mount Rushmore
What's that below those strange clouds? Presidents. If you look closely, you may recognize the heads of four former US Presidents carved into famous Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, USA. More obvious in the featured image are the unusual mammatus clouds that passed briefly overhead.
M16: Pillars of Star Creation
These dark pillars may look destructive, but they are creating stars. This pillar-capturing image of the inside of the Eagle Nebula, taken with the Hubble Space Telescope in 1995, shows evaporating gaseous globules (EGGs) emerging from pillars of molecular hydrogen gas and dust.