Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Messier 45: The Daughters of Atlas and Pleione
Hurtling through a cosmic dust cloud a mere 400 light-years away, the lovely Pleiades or Seven Sisters open star cluster is well-known for its striking blue reflection nebulae. It lies in the night sky toward the constellation Taurus and the Orion Arm of our Milky Way galaxy.
APOD: 2023 January 4 Б CG4: The Globule and the Galaxy
Can a gas cloud eat a galaxy? It's not even close. The "claw" of this odd looking "creature" in the featured photo is a gas cloud known as a cometary globule. This globule, however, has ruptured. Cometary globules are typically characterized by dusty heads and elongated tails.
APOD: 2023 January 3 Б Kembles Cascade of Stars
This line of stars is real. A little too faint to see with the unaided eye, KembleБs Cascade of stars inspires awe when seen with binoculars. Like the Big Dipper though, KembleБs Cascade is an asterism, not a constellation. The asterism is visible in the northern sky toward the long-necked constellation of the Giraffe (Camelopardalis).
APOD: 2023 January 2 Б After Sunset Planet Parade
Look up tonight and see a whole bunch of planets. Just after sunset, looking west, planets Venus, Saturn, Jupiter and Mars will all be simultaneously visible. Listed west to east, this planetary lineup will have Venus nearest the horizon, but setting shortly after the Sun.
The Largest Rock in our Solar System
There, that dot on the right, that's the largest rock known in our Solar System. It is larger than every known asteroid, moon, and comet nucleus. It is larger than any other local rocky planet.
Moon over Makemake
Makemake (sounds like MAH-kay MAH-kay), second brightest dwarf planet of the Kuiper belt, has a moon. Nicknamed MK2, Makemake's moon reflects sunlight with a charcoal-dark surface, about 1,300 times fainter than its parent body.
Mars and the Star Clusters
At this year's end Mars still shines brightly in planet Earth's night as it wanders through the head-strong constellation Taurus. Its bright yellowish hue dominates this starry field of view that includes Taurus' alpha star Aldebaran and the Hyades and Pleiades star clusters.
Horsehead and Flame
The Horsehead Nebula, famous celestial dark marking also known as Barnard 33, is notched against a background glow of emission nebulae in this sharp cosmic skyscape. About five light-years "tall" the Horsehead lies some 1,500 light-years away in the constellation of Orion.
Charles Messier described the 88th entry in his 18th century catalog of Nebulae and Star Clusters as a spiral nebula without stars. Of course the gorgeous M88 is now understood to be a galaxy full of stars, gas, and dust, not unlike our own Milky Way.
A Full Circle Rainbow over Norway
Have you ever seen an entire rainbow? From the ground, typically, only the top portion of a rainbow is visible because directions toward the ground have fewer raindrops. From the air, though, the entire 360-degree circle of a rainbow is more commonly visible.