Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Saturn, Rings, and Two Moons
This image of Saturn was made by NASA's robot spacecraft Voyager 2 as it began to explore the Saturn system in 1981. Saturn's famous rings are visible along with two of its moons, Rhea and Dione which appear as faint dots in the right and lower right part of the picture.
The Night Side of Saturn
This image of Saturn was made in November 1980 by the Voyager 1 spacecraft as it flew past the ringed gas giant planet. From a spectacular vantage point, looking back toward the inner solar system, the robot spacecraft recorded this view of the night side of Saturn casting a sharp shadow across the bright rings.
The Firework Nebula
The Firework Nebula, known to astronomers as "GK Per", is the result of a type of stellar explosion called a nova. In a nova, a very compact star called a white dwarf blasts away gas that had accumulated on its surface.
The Great Nebula in Orion
The Great Nebula in Orion, M42, can be found on the night sky just below and to the left of the easily identifiable belt of three stars in the popular constellation Orion. This nebula is one of the closest stellar nurseries - where young stars are being formed even now.
The Cartwheel Galaxy
The Cartwheel Galaxy shows a ring that is the result of a collision between a small and a large galaxy. After a small galaxy has moved through a big galaxy - in this case...
The Hooker Telescope on Mt. Wilson
In the 1920s, pictures from the Hooker Telescope on Mt. Wilson fundamentally changed our understanding of the cosmos. Astronomer Edwin Hubble, using photographs he took with this telescope, demonstrated that the objects his contemporaries called "spiral nebulae" were actually huge systems of stars - spiral galaxies, similar to our own Milky Way galaxy but incredibly distant.
Ida and Dactyl: Asteroid and Moon
An asteroid with a moon! The robot spacecraft Galileo whose primary mission is to explore the Jupiter system, has encountered and photographed two asteroids during its long journey to Jupiter. The second asteroid...
The Earth-Moon System
A double planet? From 4 million miles away on December 16, 1992, NASA's robot spacecraft Galileo took this picture of the Earth-moon system. The bright, sunlit half of the Earth contrasts strongly with the darker subdued colors of the moon. Our moon is one of the largest moons in the solar system.
The Cat's Eye Nebula
Three thousand light years away, a dying star throws off shells of glowing gas. This Hubble Space Telescope image reveals "The Cat's Eye Nebula" to be one of the most complex "planetary nebulae" known.
An Ultraviolet Image of M101
This giant spiral galaxy, Messier 101 (M101), was photographed by the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope onboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour during the Astro-2 mission (March 2 - 18, 1995). The image has been computer processed so that the colors represent the intensity of ultraviolet light.