Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Comet 45P Passes Near the Earth
A large snowball has just passed the Earth. Known as Comet 45P/HondaMrkosPajduАkovА", or 45P for short, the comet came 10 times closer to Earth yesterday than the Earth ever gets to the Sun. During this passage, the comet was photographed sporting a thin ion tail and a faint but expansive green coma.
Solar System Portrait
On Valentine's Day in 1990, cruising four billion miles from the Sun, the Voyager 1 spacecraft looked back one last time to make this first ever Solar System family portrait. The complete portrait is a 60 frame mosaic made from a vantage point 32 degrees above the ecliptic plane.
Melotte 15 inthe Heart
Cosmic clouds form fantastic shapes in the central regions of emission nebula IC 1805. The clouds are sculpted by stellar winds and radiation from massive hot stars in the nebula's newborn star cluster, Melotte 15.
Peering from the shadows, the Saturn-facing hemisphere of tantalizing inner moon Enceladus poses in this Cassini spacecraft image. North is up in the dramatic scene captured last November as Cassini's camera was pointed in a nearly sunward direction about 130,000 kilometers from the moon's bright crescent.
The Butterfly Nebula from Hubble
The bright clusters and nebulae of planet Earth's night sky are often named for flowers or insects. Though its wingspan covers over 3 light-years, NGC 6302 is no exception. With an estimated surface...
NGC 6357: The Lobster Nebula
Why is the Lobster Nebula forming some of the most massive stars known? No one is yet sure. Near the more obvious Cat's Paw nebula on the upper right, the Lobster Nebula...
The Porpoise Galaxy from Hubble
What's happening to this spiral galaxy? Just a few hundred million years ago, NGC 2936, the upper of the two large galaxies shown, was likely a normal spiral galaxy -- spinning, creating stars -- and minding its own business.
Odysseus Crater on Tethys
Some moons wouldn't survive the collision. Tethys, one of Saturn's larger moons at about 1000 kilometers in diameter, survived the collision, but today exhibits the resulting expansive impact crater Odysseus. Sometimes called...
Conjunction of Four
On January 31, a waxing crescent Moon, brilliant Venus, and fainter Mars gathered in the fading twilight, hanging above the western horizon just after sunset on planet Earth. In this combined evening skyscape, the lovely celestial triangle is seen through clouds and haze.
Milky Way with Airglow Australis
Captured last April after sunset on a Chilean winter's night an exceptionally intense airglow flooded this scene. The panoramic skyscape is also filled with stars, clusters, and nebulae along the southern Milky Way including the Large and Small Magellanic clouds.