Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Comet Hale-Bopp Update
Will comet Hale-Bopp become the brightest comet of the Century in early 1997? Since its discovery in July this year, Hale-Bopp has caused much speculation. Even though it is still beyond the orbit of Jupiter it is astonishingly bright and expected to get much brighter as it plunges inward, toward the Sun.
Radioactive Clouds in the Milky Way
When massive stars explode they create large radioactive blast clouds which expand into interstellar space. As the radioactive elements decay, they produce gamma-rays. Possible locations of these stellar explosions known as supernovae, are indicated by the bright clumps in this map of the central regions of our Milky Way Galaxy.
The Delta Clipper
The Delta Clipper experimental rocket or DC-X is intended as a development vehicle to pave the way for a reusable single stage to orbit rocket. Shown here, in an artists conception, it has made...
The Tarantula and the Supernova
In this close-up of the Large Magellanic Cloud, the spidery looking nebula on the left is fittingly known as as the Tarantula nebula. It is an emission nebula surrounding a cluster of hot, young stars called the 30 Doradus super cluster.
Sailing upside down, 115 nautical miles above Earth, the crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavour made this spectacular time exposure of the southern aurora (aurora australis) in October of 1994. The aurora, also known...
Painting with Solar Neutrons
Solar flares are propelled high above the Sun's surface by powerful, twisted magnetic fields. The flares spew high energy atomic and subatomic particles into space. During an intense solar flare on June 15, 1991, a spray of solar neutrons was detected by the COMPTEL instrument onboard NASA's Compton Gamma Ray Observatory.
A Total Solar Eclipse
Pictured above is a total solar eclipse, with the Sun's corona, clearly visible surrounding the Moon. This picture is a composite of differently exposed photos of an eclipse that occurred on July 11, 1991. Today there will be another total eclipse of the Sun, the last until March 1997.
Gamma rays are more than 10,000 times more energetic than visible light. If you could "see" gamma rays, the night sky would seem very different indeed. The bright object in the center of the false color gamma-ray image above is quasar 3C279, a nondescript, faint, starlike object in the visible sky.
A Quasar-Galaxy Collision?
In 1963 astronomers were astounded to discover that certain faint, star-like objects have very large redshifts. The large redshifts imply that these objects, now known as quasars (QUASi-stellAR objects), lie near the edge of the observable Universe.
A Glimpse of Titan's Surface
The surface of Titan, Saturn's largest moon, is normally hidden from view by its thick, hazy atmosphere. However, for the first time astronomers have been able to see surface features in images like the one above, made at near-infrared wavelengths with the Hubble Space Telescope.