Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Sunlight Through Saturn's Rings
Normally, Earth based astronomers view Saturn's spectacular ring system fully illuminated by reflected sunlight. However, this November 1995 Hubble Space Telescope composite image was made to take advantage of an unusual perspective, with the Sun actually illuminating the rings from below.
Henize 70: A SuperBubble In The LMC
Massive stars (tens of times the mass of the Sun) profoundly affect their galactic environment. Churning and mixing the clouds of gas and dust between the stars, they leave their mark in the compositions and locations of future generations of stars and star systems.
Supernova Remnant: Cooking Elements In The LMC
Massive stars cook elements in their cores through nuclear fusion. Starting with the light elements of hydrogen and helium, their central temperatures and pressures produce progressively heavier elements, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, etc. up through iron.
Neptune's Great Dark Spot: Gone But Not Forgotten
When NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft flew by distant Neptune in August of 1989, astronomers were shocked. Since Neptune receives only 3 percent the sunlight Jupiter does, they expected to find a dormant, dark, frigid planet. Instead, the Voyager images revealed evidence of a dynamic and turbulent world.
The Clouds of Neptune
These Hubble Space Telescope (HST) images reveal glimpses of the dynamic atmosphere of Neptune, the Solar System's most distant gas giant planet. The first close-up of Neptune's clouds was provided by NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft during its August 1989 flyby, giving a tantalizingly brief look.
Southern Lights and Shuttle Glow
A background of distant stars, sinuous and spiky bands of Southern Lights (Aurora Australis), and the faint glow of charged plasma (ionized atomic gas) surrounding the Space Shuttle Discovery's engines give this photo from the STS-39 mission an eerie, otherworldly look.
Planet Near a Galaxy Core
What would the night sky look like if you lived on a planet near the center of a galaxy? Now imagine that this galaxy houses a black hole billions of times more massive than a star. From this spectacular vantage point, the sky might look like the above illustration.
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...
The Milky Way Near the Southern Cross
This breathtaking patch of sky would be above you were you to stand at the south pole of the Earth. Just above and to the right of the photograph's center are the four stars that mark the boundaries of the famous Southern Cross.
The Tails of Comet Hyakutake
What makes comet tails so colorful? This photograph of Comet Hyakutake was taken the night of April 18th and highlights different components of the tail. The gold and red tail features are dust, made predominately of little bits of rock and carbon. The dust tail shines by reflecting sunlight.