Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Colorful Clouds of Orion
Revisiting one of the most famous nebulae in planet Earth's night sky, astrophotographer Robert Gendler has constructed this stunning, color-enhanced mosiac of the region surrounding the Great Nebula in Orion. As seen here...
RAPTOR Images GRB 021211
On December 11 astronomers found one of the brightest and most distant explosions in the Universe - a gamma-ray burst - hiding in the glare of a relatively nearby star. The earliest image of the burst's visible light was caught by an earthbound RAPTOR (RAPid Telescopes for Optical Response).
Io Volcano Culann Patera
What causes the unusual colors surrounding Io's volcanoes? Io, the innermost large moon of Jupiter, is known to be the most tumultuous body in the Solar System. Approximately the size of Earth...
Beefing Up the International Space Station
The International Space Station (ISS) will be the largest human-made object ever to orbit the Earth. The station is so large that it could not be launched all at once -- it is being built piecemeal with large sections added continually by flights of the Space Shuttle.
Night and Day in Melas Chasma on Mars
What types of terrain are found on Mars? Part of the answer comes from thermal imaging by the robot spacecraft 2001 Mars Odyssey currently orbiting Mars. The above picture is a superposition of two infrared images, a black and white image taken during Martian daylight and a false-color image taken at night.
A Network of Microlensing Caustics
A virtual sky map like this would be of interest to astronomers studying gravitational microlensing. In microlensing, the gravity of stars near the line of sight can act to magnify the light of background objects such as distant stars, or quasars. Nowhere is this magnification greater than near a gravitational lensing caustic.
IC 418: The Spirograph Nebula
What is creating the strange texture of IC 418? Dubbed the Spirograph Nebula for its resemblance to drawings from a cyclical drawing tool, planetary nebula IC 418 shows patterns that are not well understood. Perhaps they are related to chaotic winds from the variable central star, which changes brightness unpredictably in just a few hours.
The Crown of the Sun
During a total solar eclipse, the Sun's extensive outer atmosphere or corona is an awesome and inspirational sight. Yet the subtle shades and shimmering features of the corona that engage the eye span a brightness range of over 10,000 to 1, making them notoriously difficult to capture in a photograph.
Apollo 17: Last on the Moon
In December of 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt spent about 75 hours on the Moon, in the Taurus-Littrow valley, while colleague Ronald Evans orbited overhead. Near the beginning of their...
Meteors Between Stars and Clouds
Streaking high above diffuse clouds -- but well in front of distant stars -- are sand-sized bits of an ancient comet: meteors. These bits flaked off Comet Tempel-Tuttle during its pass through the inner Solar System about 150 years ago. Far in the background are stars toward the constellation of Ursa Major.