Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)The Whale and the Hockey Stick
NGC 4631 is a big beautiful spiral galaxy seen edge-on (top right) only 25 million light-years away towards the small northern constellation Canes Venatici. This galaxy's slightly distorted wedge shape suggests to some a cosmic herring and to others the popular moniker of The Whale Galaxy.
Bright Planets, Crescent Moon
Early risers are currently enjoying the sight of dazzling Venus, near the eastern horizon as the morning star. Recorded on October 7, this predawn skyview does feature Venus at the upper right. It also includes a crescent Moon and Saturn (lower left).
The Strange Tailing Side of Saturns Iapetus
What has happened to Saturn's moon Iapetus? Vast sections of this strange world are dark as coal, while others are as bright as ice. The composition of the dark material is unknown, but infrared spectra indicate that it possibly contains some dark form of carbon.
Aurora, Stars, Meteor, Lake, Alaska
Sometimes, after your eyes adapt to the dark, a spectacular sky appears. In this case, a picturesque lake lies in front of you, beautiful green aurora flap high above you, brilliant stars shine far in the distance, and, for a brief moment, a bright meteor streaks by.
Galaxy NGC 474: Cosmic Blender
What's happening to galaxy NGC 474? The multiple layers of emission appear strangely complex and unexpected given the relatively featureless appearance of the elliptical galaxy in less deep images. The cause...
Two Million Galaxies
Our universe is filled with galaxies. Galaxies -- huge conglomerations of stars, gas, dust -- and mysterious dark matter are the basic building blocks of the large-scale universe. Although distant galaxies move away from each other...
X Ray Stars of Orion
The stars of Orion shine brightly in visible light in planet Earth's night sky. The constellation harbors the closest large stellar nursery, the Great Nebula of Orion, a mere 1,500 light-years away.
Starburst Cluster in NGC 3603
A mere 20,000 light-years from the Sun lies NGC 3603, a resident of the nearby Carina spiral arm of our Milky Way Galaxy. NGC 3603 is well known to astronomers as one of the Milky Way's largest star-forming regions.
50th Anniversary of Sputnik: Traveling Companion
Sputnik means "traveling companion". Despite the innocuous sounding name, the launch of planet Earth's first artificial moon, Sputnik 1, by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957, changed the world and set in motion events which resulted in the creation of NASA and the race to the Moon.
Comet Encke s Tail Ripped off
Swinging inside the orbit of Mercury, on April 20th periodic comet Encke encountered a blast from the Sun in the form of a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). When CMEs, enormous clouds of energetic particles ejected from the Sun, slam into Earth's magnetosphere, they often trigger auroral displays.