Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)NGC 602 and Beyond
Near the outskirts of the Small Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy some 200 thousand light-years distant, lies 5 million year young star cluster NGC 602. Surrounded by natal gas and dust, NGC 602 is featured in this stunning Hubble image of the region.
McNaught Now Brightest Comet in Decades
The brightest comet in decades is unexpectedly now visible. The most optimistic predictions have Comet McNaught (C/2006 P1) shortly becoming one of the brightest comets of the past century. For the next few days...
The Big Dipper
Do you see it? This common question frequently precedes the rediscovery of one of the most commonly recognized configurations of stars on the northern sky: the Big Dipper. This grouping of stars is one of the few things that has likely been seen, and will be seen, by every generation.
The Mysterious Rings of Supernova 1987A
What's causing those odd rings in supernova 1987A? In 1987, the brightest supernova in recent history occurred in the Large Magellanic Clouds. At the center of the picture is an object central to the remains of the violent stellar explosion.
The Orion Deep Field
Adrift 1,500 light-years away in one of the night sky's most recognizable constellations, the glowing Orion Nebula and the dark Horsehead Nebula are contrasting cosmic vistas. But even fainter filaments of glowing...
Comet McNaught Heads for the Sun
Early morning risers with a clear and unobstructed eastern horizon can enjoy the sight of Comet McNaught (C/2006 P1) in dawn skies over the next few days. Discovered in August by R. H. McNaught...
Supergiant star Gamma Cygni lies at the center of the Northern Cross, famous asterism in the constellation Cygnus the Swan. Known by the proper name Sadr, the bright star also lies at the center...
Twenty Full Moons
In celebration of tonight's Full Moon, the first of 2007, consider this grid of twenty Full Moons. From upper left to lower right, the images represent every lunation from May 2005 through December 2006.
Light from the First Stars
What were the first stars like? No one is yet sure. Our Sun is not a first-generation star. It is not even second generation. The first stars to appear in the universe likely came and went about 13 billion years ago.
NGC 6960: The Witch's Broom Nebula
Ten thousand years ago, before the dawn of recorded human history, a new light must suddenly have appeared in the night sky and faded after a few weeks. Today we know this light was an exploding star and record the colorful expanding cloud as the Veil Nebula.