Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Mars: Big Crater in Stereo
Get out your red/blue glasses and check out this stereo picture of "Big Crater" on Mars! (Pieces of red and blue or green clear plastic will do. Your right eye should look through...
Tornadoes on the Sun
Giant spinning clouds of gas, similar to Earth's tornadoes, have been found on the Sun. Solar tornadoes, however, can be larger than the entire Earth, and sustain wind gusts over 1000 times stronger than their Earth counterparts.
A Rare Double Conjunction Eclipse
The crescent Moon, Venus, and Jupiter all appeared together in the early morning hours of April 23rd. Some locations on Earth were able to witness a rare double conjunction eclipse, where the Moon occulted both Jupiter and Venus at the same time.
IC 4406: A Seemingly Square Nebula
How can a round star make a square nebula? This conundrum came to light with the discovery of planetary nebulae like IC 4406. IC 4406 is most probably cylindrical, with its square appearance the result of our vantage point in viewing the cylinder.
NGC 2440: Cocoon of a New White Dwarf
Like a butterfly, a white dwarf star begins its life by casting off a cocoon that enclosed its former self. In this analogy, however, the Sun would be a caterpillar and the ejected shell of gas would become the prettiest of all!
Supernova Remnant and Neutron Star
A massive star ends life as a supernova, blasting its outer layers back to interstellar space. The spectacular death explosion is initiated by the collapse of what has become an impossibly dense stellar core. However, this core is not necessarily destroyed.
This delightfully detailed false color image of Saturn has been earmarked to celebrate the 8th anniversary of the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. The picture is a combination of three images taken in January of this year with the Hubble's new NICMOS instrument and shows the lovely ringed planet in reflected infrared light.
Three Dusty Stars
These separate radio images reveal three dusty debris disks surrounding three bright, young, nearby stars - evidence for solar systems in formation. From left to right are the stars Fomalhaut, Beta Pictoris, and Vega, their positions indicated by star symbols. The false color maps show the intensity of submillimeter radio emission from the surrounding dust.
HR 4796A: A Recipe for Planets
Two hundred and twenty light years from Earth, planets are forming. Recent observations of the binary star system HR 4796 have shown that one of the stars is surrounded by a dusty gaseous disk. This disk is of the right size, age, and density for dust pellets to accrete surrounding matter.
Water From Orion
Is Orion all wet? Recent observations have confirmed that water molecules now exist in the famous Orion Nebula, and are still forming. The Orion Nebula (M42, shown above) is known to be composed mostly of hydrogen gas, with all other atoms and molecules being comparatively rare.