Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)IC 4592: A Blue Horsehead
This complex of beautiful, dusty reflection nebulae lies in the constellation Scorpius along the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy. Its overall outline suggests a horsehead in profile, though it covers a much larger region than the better known Horsehead Nebula of Orion.
Above Earth Fixing Hubble
What is that astronaut doing? Fixing the Hubble Space Telescope. During the fourth servicing mission to upgrade and fix Hubble, astronaut Michael Good can be seen attached to the shuttle's robotic arm, working in an open panel of Hubble. Far below, the terminator between day and night can be seen across planet Earth.
Sagittarius and the Central Milky Way
What does the center of our Milky Way Galaxy look like? In visible light, no one knows! It is not possible to see the Galactic center in light our eyes are sensitive to because the thick dust in the plane of our Galaxy obscures it.
Moon Rays Over Thurso Castle
What's happening over that castle? While waiting for the Moon to rise last month in Thurso, Scotland, amateur astrophotographer Stewart Watt took a three minute exposure of the background stars. The above image was the surprising result.
Mimas: Small Moon with a Big Crater
Whatever hit Mimas nearly destroyed it. What remains is one of the largest impact craters on one of Saturn's smallest moons. The crater, named Herschel after the 1789 discoverer of Mimas, Sir William Herschel, spans about 130 kilometers and is pictured above.
Atlantis and Hubble Side by Side
On Wednesday, May 13, two, tiny, fast moving spots crossed an otherwise featureless solar disk. Not sunspots though, the dark blemishes were silhouettes of the shuttle orbiter Atlantis and the Hubble Space Telescope side by side.
M97: The Owl Nebula
The Owl Nebula is perched in the sky about 2,600 light-years away toward the bottom of the Big Dipper's bowl. Also cataloged as M97, the 97th object in Messier's well-known list, its round shape along with the placement of two large, dark "eyes" do suggest the face of a staring owl.
Elusive Jellyfish Nebula
Normally faint and elusive, the Jellyfish Nebula is caught in this alluring wide-field telescopic view. Flanked by two yellow-tinted stars, Mu and Eta Geminorum, at the foot of a celestial twin, the Jellyfish Nebula is the brighter arcing ridge of emission with dangling tentacles right of center.
A Space Shuttle Before Dawn
This shuttle has launched to space. Pictured above, the Space Shuttle Atlantis sat on Launch Pad 39A before dawn last month as it was prepared for the launch. The shuttle itself is visible on the image right, attached to a brown liquid fuel tank and two white solid rocket boosters.
An Iridescent Cloud Over Ohio
Why would a cloud appear to be different colors? A relatively rare phenomenon known as iridescent clouds can show unusual colors vividly or a whole spectrum of colors simultaneously. These clouds are formed of small water droplets of nearly uniform size.