Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Fullerenes as Miniature Cosmic Time Capsules
Scientists have found, unexpectedly, tiny time capsules from billions of years in the past. The discovery involves small molecules that can apparently become trapped during the formation of large enclosed molecules known as fullerenes, or buckyballs.
Filaments in the Cygnus Loop
Subtle and delicate in appearance, these are filaments of shocked interstellar gas -- part of the expanding blast wave from a violent stellar explosion. Recorded in November 1997 with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 on board the Hubble Space Telescope, the picture is a closeup of a supernova remnant known as the Cygnus Loop.
Stars and the Bubble Nebula
Seemingly adrift in an cosmic sea of stars and gas, this delicate, floating apparition is cataloged as NGC 7635 -- The Bubble Nebula. In this wide-angle view, the Bubble nebula lies at the center of a larger complex of shocked glowing gas about 11,000 light-years distant in the fair constellation Cassiopeia.
NGC 1700: Elliptical Galaxy and Rotating Disk
In spiral galaxies, majestic winding arms of young stars and interstellar gas and dust rotate in a disk around a bulging galactic nucleus. Elliptical galaxies seem to be simpler, randomly swarming with old stars and lacking gas and dust.
Ringed Planet Uranus
Yes it does look like Saturn, but Saturn is one of only four giant ringed planets in our Solar System. And while Saturn has the brightest rings, this system of rings and moons actually belongs to planet Uranus, imaged here in near-infrared light by the Antu telescope at the ESO Parnal Observatory in Chile.
192: The Wrong Galaxy
Centered above is distant galaxy 0313-192, some one billion light-years away. Radio emission from the galaxy has been mapped by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's Very Large Array and is shown in red, composited with a visible light image from the Hubble Space Telescope's new Advanced Camera for Surveys.
The Dumbbell Nebula in Hydrogen and Oxygen
The first hint of what will become of our Sun was discovered inadvertently in 1764. At that time, Charles Messier was compiling a list of "annoying" diffuse objects not to be confused with "interesting" comets.
A Spherule from Outer Space
When a meteorite strikes the Moon, the energy of the impact melts some of the splattering rock, a fraction of which might cool into tiny glass beads. Many of these glass beads were present in lunar soil samples returned to Earth by the Apollo missions.
Apollo 17: Boulder in Stereo
Humans left the Moon over thirty years ago, but donning red-blue glasses (red for the left eye) you can share this excellent stereo perspective view of their last stomping ground. Recorded by Eugene Cernan...
The Crab that Played with the Planet
Wandering through the constellation Taurus, Saturn made its closest approach to planet Earth last month, tilting its lovely rings toward appreciative skygazers while rising high in midnight skies. On January 4th and 5th, Saturn...