Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)APOD: 2023 December 31 Б Illustris: A Simulation of the Universe
How did we get here? Click play, sit back, and watch. A computer simulation of the evolution of the universe provides insight into how galaxies formed and perspectives into humanity's place in the universe.
The Last Full Moon
Known to some in the northern hemisphere as December's Cold Moon or the Long Night Moon, the last full moon of 2023 is rising in this surreal mountain and skyscape. The Daliesque scene was captured in a single exposure with a camera and long telephoto lens near Monte Grappa, Italy.
Shakespeare in Space
In 1986, Voyager 2 became the only spacecraft to explore ice giant planet Uranus close up. Still, this newly released image from the NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) on the James Webb Space Telescope offers a detailed look at the distant world. The tilted outer planet rotates on its axis once in about 17 hours.
Jupiter and the Geminid
For a brief moment, this brilliant fireball meteor outshone Jupiter in planet Earth's night. The serendipitous image was captured while hunting meteors under cold Canadian skies with a camera in timelapse mode on December 14, near the peak of the Geminid meteor shower.
APOD: 2023 December 27 Б Rainbow Aurora over Icelandic Waterfall
Yes, but can your aurora do this? First, yes, auroras can look like rainbows even though they are completely different phenomena. Auroras are caused by Sun-created particles being channeled into Earth's atmosphere by Earth's magnetic field, and create colors by exciting atoms at different heights.
APOD: 2023 December 26 Б IC 443: The Jellyfish Nebula
Why is this jellyfish swimming in a sea of stars? Drifting near bright star Eta Geminorum, seen at the right, the Jellyfish Nebula extends its tentacles from the bright arcing ridge of emission left of center.
APOD: 2023 December 25 Б Cathedral, Mountain, Moon
Single shots like this require planning. The first step is to realize that such an amazing triple-alignment actually takes place. The second step is to find the best location to photograph it. But it was the third step: being there at exactly the right time -- and when the sky was clear -- that was the hardest.
APOD: 2023 December 24 Б NGC 2440: Cocoon of a New White Dwarf
What's that in the center? Like a butterfly, a white dwarf star begins its life by casting off a cocoon of gas that enclosed its former self. In this analogy, however, the Sun would be a caterpillar and the ejected shell of gas would become the prettiest cocoon of all.
A December Summer Night
Colours of a serene evening sky are captured in this 8 minute exposure, made near this December's solstice from New Zealand, southern hemisphere, planet Earth. Looking south, star trails form the short concentric arcs around the rotating planet's south celestial pole positioned just off the top of the frame.
183 Days in the Sun
A single 183 day exposure with a pinhole camera and photographic paper resulted in this long-duration solargraph. Recorded from solstice to solstice, June 21 to December 21, in 2022, it follows the Sun's daily arcing path through planet Earth's skies from Mertola, Portugal.