Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Planets of the Solar System: Tilts and Spins
How does your favorite planet spin? Does it spin rapidly around a nearly vertical axis, or horizontally, or backwards? The featured video animates NASA images of all eight planets in our Solar System to show them spinning side-by-side for an easy comparison.
Galaxy by the Lake
This 180 degree panoramic night skyscape captures our Milky Way Galaxy as it arcs above the horizon on a winter's night in August. Near midnight, the galactic center is close to the zenith with the clear waters of Lake Traful, Neuquen, Argentina, South America, planet Earth below.
Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 were launched in 1977 on a grand tour of the outer planets of the Solar System. They have become the longest operating and most distant spacecraft from Earth. Both have traveled beyond the heliosphere, the realm defined by the influence of the solar wind and the Sun's magnetic field.
North America and the Pelican
Fans of our fair planet might recognize the outlines of these cosmic clouds. On the left, bright emission outlined by dark, obscuring dust lanes seems to trace a continental shape, lending the popular name North America Nebula to the emission region cataloged as NGC 7000.
Tarantula Stars R136 from Webb
Near the center of a nearby star-forming region lies a massive cluster containing some of the largest and hottest stars known. Collectively known as star cluster NGC 2070, these stars are part of the vast Tarantula Nebula and were captured in two kinds of infrared light by the new Webb Space Telescope.
An Iridescent Pileus Cloud over China
Yes, but how many dark clouds have a multicolored lining? Pictured, behind this darker cloud, is a pileus iridescent cloud, a group of water droplets that have a uniformly similar size and so together diffract different colors of sunlight by different amounts. The featured image was taken last month in Pu'er, Yunnan Province, China.
Carina Cliffs from the Webb Space Telescope
Stars created these cliffs. Specifically, the destructive winds and energetic light from the stars in the open cluster NGC 3324 eroded away part of a mountain of dark interstellar dust in the northern part of the Carina Nebula.
Sea and Sky Glows over the Oregon Coast
Every step caused the sand to light up blue. That glow was bioluminescence -- a blue radiance that also lights the surf in this surreal scene captured in mid-2018 at Meyer's Creek Beach in Oregon, USA. Volcanic stacks dot the foreground sea, while a thin fog layer scatters light on the horizon.
Sun and Moon and ISS
On August 25 Sun and Moon could both be seen in planet Earth's daytime skies. And so could the International Space Station. The ISS crossed the disk of the waning crescent Moon as seen from Shunyi district, Beijing, China at about 11:02 am local time.
M51: The Whirlpool Galaxy
Find the Big Dipper and follow the handle away from the dipper's bowl until you get to the last bright star. Then, just slide your telescope a little south and west and you'll come upon this stunning pair of interacting galaxies, the 51st entry in Charles Messier's famous catalog.