Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)At the Center of the Milky Way
At the center of our Milky Way Galaxy lies a supermassive black hole. Once a controversial claim, this conclusion is now solidly based on 16 years of observations that map the orbits of 28 stars very near the galactic center.
Look through the cosmic cloud cataloged as NGC 281 and it's almost easy to miss stars of the open cluster IC 1590. But, formed within the nebula, that cluster's young, massive stars ultimately power the pervasive nebular glow.
M45: The Pleiades Star Cluster
Perhaps the most famous star cluster on the sky, the Pleiades can be seen without binoculars from even the depths of a light-polluted city. Also known as the Seven Sisters and M45, the Pleiades is one of the brightest and closest open clusters.
The Dark Doodad Nebula
What is that strange dark ribbon on the sky? When observing the great globular cluster NGC 4372, observers frequently take note of a strange dark streak nearly three degrees in length running near it. Unnamed, the streak, actually a long molecular cloud, has become known as the Dark Doodad Nebula.
A Halo Around the Moon
Have you ever seen a halo around the Moon? This fairly common sight occurs when high thin clouds containing millions of tiny ice crystals cover much of the sky. Each ice crystal acts like a miniature lens.
Cameras around the globe pointed skyward this week to capture the spectacular conjunction of a crescent Moon and bright planets Venus and Jupiter. But astronomer-artist Deirdre Kelleghan recorded her observations in sketches of the celestial event.
Smile in the Sky
At sunset, Monday's western sky showed off stunning colors and dramatic clouds reflected in Brisbane Water on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia. It also featured the remarkable conjunction of the crescent Moon, Venus, and Jupiter forming a twilight smiley face.
Venus in the Moon
On December 1, bright planets Venus and Jupiter gathered near the young crescent Moon, an inspiring celestial scene in early evening skies around the world. But from some locations the Moon actually passed in front of Venus, interrupting the tight grouping with a lunar occultation.
A Happy Sky Over Los Angeles
Sunday, the sky seemed to smile over much of planet Earth. Visible the world over was an unusual superposition of our Moon and the planets Venus and Jupiter. Pictures taken at the right time...
International Space Station: Find the Astronaut
Where's the astronaut? Somewhere in this impressive array of International Space Station (ISS) hardware, astronaut Steve Bowen can be found upgrading and cleaning key parts of Earth's most prominent orbital outpost. Astronaut...