Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Reflections on the 1970s
The 1970s are often overlooked. In particular, the beautiful grouping of reflection nebulae NGC 1977, NGC 1975, and NGC 1973 in Orion are often overlooked in favor of the substantial stellar nursery better known as the Orion Nebula.
A Daytime Fireball Over South Wales
Jon Burnett, a teenager from South Wales, UK, was photographing some friends skateboarding last week when the sky did something very strange. High in the distance, a sofa-sized rock came hurtling into the nearby atmosphere of planet Earth and disintegrated.
The Sagittarius Dwarf Tidal Stream
Is our Milky Way Galaxy out to lunch? Recent wide field images and analyses now indicate that our home galaxy is actually still in the process of devouring its closest satellite neighbor. This unfortunate...
Aurora Over the Chugach Mountains
Auroras can make spectacular sights. Photographed above, flowing green auroras help the Moon illuminate the serene Portage Lake and the snowy Chugach Mountains near Anchorage, Alaska, USA. Although auroras might first appear to be moonlit clouds, they only add light to the sky and do not block background stars from view.
Our Galaxy in Stars, Gas, and Dust
The disk of our Milky Way Galaxy is home to hot nebulae, cold dust, and billions of stars. The red nebulae visible in the above contrast-enhanced picture are primarily emission nebulae, glowing clouds of hydrogen gas heated by nearby, bright, young stars.
"Safe!" In September 1967 (during regular season play), the Surveyor 5 lander actually slid several feet while making a successful soft landing on the Moon's Mare Tranquillitatis. Equipped with television cameras and soil...
IC1340 in the Eastern Veil
These ghostly filaments of interstellar gas are just a small part of the expansive Veil Nebula, seen against a rich field of background stars in the long-necked constellation Cygnus. Also known as the Cygnus...
Logarithmic Spirals Isabel and M51
Uncomfortably close hurricane Isabel (left) and 30 million light-year distant galaxy M51 actually don't have much in common. For starters, Isabel was hundreds of miles across, while M51 (the Whirlpool Galaxy) spans about...
M33: Spiral Galaxy in Triangulum
The small constellation Triangulum in the northern sky harbors this magnificent face-on spiral galaxy, M33. Its popular names include the Pinwheel Galaxy or just the Triangulum Galaxy. M33's diameter spans over 50,000 light-years, making it third largest in the Local Group of galaxies after the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), and our own Milky Way.
Egging On the Autumnal Equinox
Today is the autumnal equinox -- should eggs be able to stand on end? This long-standing myth loses much of its mystique after a demonstration that eggs can be made to stand on end during any day of the year. Pictured above, Dr. Phil Plait (Sonoma St.