Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Trapezium: Teardrops in My Skies
Sometimes the unexpected comes in a familiar shape. In this picture, the seemingly familiar teardrop-shaped object just right of center is actually an unusually situated disk of gas and dust. In fact, the teardrop is about the size of our own Solar System and is racing against time to condense and form planets.
Hamlet of Oberon
What's in a name? Since 1919, the International Astronomical Union has been charged with the task of establishing "conventional" nomenclature for planets, satellites, and surface features. For the remote Uranian system of moons, namesakes from Shakespearean works have been chosen.
Ominously foreshadowing events to come, a dark cloud of obscuring dust stands out against a luminous star field in the Milky Way. Cataloged as Feitzinger and Stuwe object "1-457" this fuliginous interstellar nebula is relatively close - possibly only 1,000 light-years distant.
NGC 6712: Galactic Globular Cluster
Following orbits which loop high above the galactic plane, globular star clusters are probably 12 to 14 billion years old - truly ancient denizens of our Milky Way Galaxy. After analyzing these new ESO/VLT images...
A Milky Way Band
Most bright stars in our Milky Way Galaxy reside in a disk. Since our Sun also resides in this disk, these stars appear to us as a diffuse band that circles the sky. The above panorama of a southern band of the Milky Way's disk was taken from Australia.
Construction of International Space Station Begins
Move over Mir, here comes the International Space Station. In December 1998, the crew of Space Shuttle Endeavour started construction by joining the U.S.-built Unity node with the Russian-built Zarya module. A close look at the above IMAX(r) photograph will reveal two astronauts working on Unity.
NGC 1316: After Galaxies Collide
Astronomers turn detectives when trying to figure out the cause of unusual sites like NGC 1316. A preliminary inspection indicates that NGC 1316 is an enormous elliptical galaxy that started devouring a smaller spiral galaxy neighbor about 100 million years ago. Supporting evidence includes the dark dust lanes uniquely indicative of a spiral.
In the Center of 30 Doradus
In the center of 30 Doradus lies a huge cluster of the largest, hottest, most massive stars known. The center of this cluster, known as R136, is boxed in the upper right portion of the above picture.
Astro 1 In Orbit
In December of 1990, the Space Shuttle Columbia carried an array of astronomical telescopes high above the Earth's obscuring atmosphere to observe the Universe at ultraviolet and x-ray wavelengths. The telescopes, known...
On The Trail Of A Fireball
This exceptionally bright fireball meteor trail was photographed with a fish-eye camera at a Czech Republic station of the European Fireball Network on January 21, 1999. Of the star trails visible in this night-long exposure, the bright short arc in the upper left is due to Polaris, the north star.