Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)NGC 7331 and Beyond
Big, beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 7331 is often touted as an analog to our own Milky Way. About 50 million light-years distant in the northern constellation Pegasus, NGC 7331 was recognized early on as a spiral nebula and is actually one of the brighter galaxies not included in Charles Messier's famous 18th century catalog.
The Snows of Paranal
Recorded last week, this dawn portrait of snowy mountain and starry sky captures a very rare scenario. The view does feature a pristine sky above the 2,600 meter high mountain Cerro Paranal, but clear skies over Paranal are not at all unusual.
The Summer Triangle Over Catalonia
Can you find the Summer Triangle? It's not hard to find this famous triangle of stars this time of year from northern locations. Just look straight up after sunset and find three of the brightest stars in the sky that nearly form a triangle.
Juno Rockets Toward Jupiter
Next stop: Jupiter. Last week included one of the few times in history that humanity launched something completely off the Earth, moving away so fast that it will never return. Well, almost -- Juno...
Seasonal Dark Streaks on Mars
What is causing these dark streaks on Mars? A leading hypothesis is flowing -- but quickly evaporating -- water. The streaks, visible in dark brown near the image center, appear in the Martian spring and summer but fade in the winter months, only to reappear again the next summer.
MyCn18: An Hourglass Planetary Nebula
The sands of time are running out for the central star of this hourglass-shaped planetary nebula. With its nuclear fuel exhausted, this brief, spectacular, closing phase of a Sun-like star's life occurs as its outer layers are ejected - its core becoming a cooling, fading white dwarf.
Comet Garradd and Messier 15
Recorded on August 2, this telescopic composite image catches Comet Garradd (C/2009 P1) in the same field of view as globular star cluster M15. The celestial scene would have been a rewarding one for influential 18th century comet hunter Charles Messier.
A Summer Night s Dream
Fix your digital camera to a tripod, start a long series of exposures, and you too can record star trails. The concentric arcs traced by the stars as planet Earth rotates on its axis often produce dreamlike scenes in otherwise familiar situations. Fall asleep, though, and the results might surprise you.
A Dusty Iris Nebula
These clouds of interstellar dust and gas have blossomed 1,300 light-years away in the fertile star fields of the constellation Cepheus. Sometimes called the Iris Nebula and dutifully cataloged as NGC 7023, this is not the only nebula in the sky to evoke the imagery of flowers.
The Leo Triplet Galaxies from VST
This popular group is famous as the Leo Triplet - a gathering of three magnificent galaxies in one field of view. Crowd pleasers when imaged with even modest telescopes, these galaxies can be introduced individually as NGC 3628 (top), M66 (bottom left), and M65 (bottom right). All three are large spiral galaxies.