Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Antennae Galaxies in Near Infrared
What happens when galaxies collide? One of the best studied examples of the jumble of star clusters, gas, and dust clouds produced by such a cosmic train wreck is the interacting galaxy pair NGC 4038 / NGC 4039, the Antennae Galaxies, only sixty million light-years away.
Unusual Rocks in Death Valley
How did those big rocks end up on that strange terrain? One of the more unusual places here on Earth occurs inside Death Valley, California, USA. There a dried lakebed named Racetrack Playa exists that is almost perfectly flat, with the odd exception of some very large stones, one of which is pictured above.
The Snake Nebula from CFHT
What slithers overhead? The dark winding lanes visible in part of the constellation of Ophiuchus belong to the Snake Nebula. Also known as Barnard 72, the Snake Nebula is a series of dark absorption clouds made up of molecular gas and interstellar dust.
NGC 2787: A Barred Lenticular Galaxy
Lenticular galaxies aren't supposed to be photogenic. Like spiral galaxies, they contain a disk, but like elliptical galaxies, they are usually short on dust, gas, and pretty spiral arms. Lenticulars are relatively little studied, possibly because of their seemingly benign nature. Famous galaxies historically classified as lenticular include M84, M85, and M86.
The Eskimo Nebula from Hubble
In 1787, astronomer William Herschel discovered the Eskimo Nebula. From the ground, NGC 2392 resembles a person's head surrounded by a parka hood. In 2000, the Hubble Space Telescope imaged the Eskimo Nebula. From space, the nebula displays gas clouds so complex they are not fully understood.
Vintage Gamma Rays
Gamma-rays are the most energetic form of electromagnetic radiation. But these high energy photons penetrate and interact in normal materials and cannot be focused by lenses and mirrors like those in optical telescopes. So how do you make an image in gamma-ray light?
Gamma Ray Burst Afterglow: Supernova Connection
What causes the mysterious gamma-ray bursts? Indicated in this Hubble Space Telescope exposure of an otherwise unremarkable field in the constellation Crater, is the dwindling optical afterglow of a gamma-ray burst first detected by the Beppo-SAX satellite on 2001 December 11.
Ikeya Zhang: Comet Over Colorado
Comet Ikeya-Zhang ("ee-KAY-uh JONG") has become a most photogenic comet. This lovely early evening view of the comet in Rocky Mountain skies looks northwest over ridges and low clouds. The time exposure was recorded on March 31st from an 8,000 foot elevation near Yampa, Colorado, USA.
NGC 4414: A Flocculent Spiral Galaxy
How much mass do flocculent spirals hide? The above true color image of flocculent spiral galaxy NGC 4414 was taken with the Hubble Space Telescope to help answer this question. Flocculent spirals -- galaxies without well defined spiral arms -- are a quite common form of galaxy, and NGC 4414 is one of the closest.
Mysterious Black Water in Florida Bay
What is causing the water in Florida Bay to turn black? The mysterious black color could be seen as early as last December in images taken by the SeaWIFS instrument on board the Earth-orbiting SeaStar satellite.