Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)APOD: 2023 December 13 Б Deep Field: The Heart Nebula
What excites the Heart Nebula? First, the large emission nebula on the left, catalogued as IC 1805, looks somewhat like a human heart. The nebula glows brightly in red light emitted by its most prominent element, hydrogen, but this long-exposure image was also blended with light emitted by silicon (yellow) and oxygen (blue).
APOD: 2023 December 12 Б Aurora and Milky Way over Norway
What are these two giant arches across the sky? Perhaps the more familiar one, on the left, is the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy. This grand disk of stars and nebulas here appears to encircle much of the southern sky.
APOD: 2023 December 11 Б Solar Minimum versus Solar Maximum
The surface of our Sun is constantly changing. Some years it is quiet, showing relatively few sunspots and active regions. Other years it is churning, showing many sunspots and throwing frequent Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) and flares.
APOD: 2023 December 10 Б Big Dipper over Pyramid Mountain
When did you first learn to identify this group of stars? Although they are familiar to many people around the world, different cultures have associated this asterism with different icons and folklore. Known...
Pic du Pleiades
Near dawn on November 19 the Pleiades stood in still dark skies over the French Pyrenees. But just before sunrise a serendipitous moment was captured in this single 3 second exposure; a bright meteor streak appeared to pierce the heart of the galactic star cluster.
Vega and Comet 12P Pons-Brooks
On December 4, periodic Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks shared this telescopic field of view with Vega, alpha star of the northern constellation Lyra. Fifth brightest star in planet Earth's night, Vega is some 25 light-years distant while the much fainter comet was about 21 light-minutes away.
Orion and the Ocean of Storms
On December 5, 2022, a camera on board the uncrewed Orion spacecraft captured this view as Orion approached its return powered flyby of the Moon. Beyond one of Orion's extended solar arrays lies dark, smooth, terrain along the western edge of the Oceanus Procellarum.
APOD: 2023 December 6 Б Stars Verus Dust in the Carina Nebula
It's stars versus dust in the Carina Nebula and the stars are winning. More precisely, the energetic light and winds from massive newly formed stars are evaporating and dispersing the dusty stellar nurseries in which they formed.
APOD: 2023 December 5 Б Energetic Particle Strikes the Earth
It was one of the most energetic particles ever known to strike the Earth -- but where did it come from? Dubbed Amaterasu after the Shinto sun goddess, this particle, as do all cosmic rays...
APOD: 2023 December 4 Б Plane Crossing Crescent Moon
No, the Moon is not a bow, and no, it did not shoot out a plane like an arrow. What is pictured is a chance superposition. The plane's contrail would normally appear white...