Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)M42: Wisps of the Orion Nebula
The Great Nebula in Orion, an immense, nearby starbirth region, is probably the most famous of all astronomical nebulas. Here, glowing gas surrounds hot young stars at the edge of an immense interstellar molecular cloud only 1500 light-years away. In the above deep image, faint wisps and sheets of dust and gas are particularly evident.
The Car, the Hole, and the Peekskill Meteorite
The Peekskill meteor of 1992 was captured on 16 independent videos and then struck a car. Documented as brighter than the full Moon, the spectacular fireball crossed parts of several US states during its 40 seconds of glory before landing in Peekskill, New York.
Leonids and Leica
This lovely view from northern Spain at Cape Creus on the easternmost point of the Iberian peninsula, looks out across the Mediteranean and up into the stream of the 2002 Leonid meteor shower. The picture is a composite of thirty separate one minute exposures taken through a fisheye lens.
Hand Drawn Transit
The sight of Mercury's tiny round disk drifting slowly across the face of the Sun inspired and entertained many denizens of planet Earth last week. In fact, artist and astronomer Mark Seibold viewed...
Children of the Sun
For a moment, planets Jupiter, Venus, Mars, and Mercury all posed near their parent star in this Sun-centered view, recorded on November 11. The picture, from a coronograph onboard the space-based SOlar Heliospheric Observatory, spans 15 degrees with the Sun's size and position indicated by the white circle.
A Fog Bow Over California
Is that white arch real? What is being seen is a fogbow, a reflection of sunlight by water drops similar to a rainbow but without the colors. The fog itself is not confined to an arch -- the fog is mostly transparent but relatively uniform.
Mercurys Transit: An Unusual Spot on the Sun
What's that dot on the Sun? If you look closely, it is almost perfectly round. The dot is the result of an unusual type of solar eclipse that occurred last week. Usually it is the Earth's Moon that eclipses the Sun.
A Hurricane Over the South Pole of Saturn
What's happening at the south pole of Saturn? To find out, scientists sent the robot Cassini probe now orbiting Saturn directly over the lower spin axis of the ringed giant. Cassini found there a spectacular massive swirling storm system with a well developed eye-wall, similar to a hurricane here on Earth.
The Cats Eye Nebula
Three thousand light-years away, a dying star throws off shells of glowing gas. This image from the Hubble Space Telescope reveals the Cat's Eye Nebula to be one of the most complex planetary nebulae known.
M51: Cosmic Whirlpool
Follow the handle of the Big Dipper away from the dipper's bowl, until you get to the handle's last bright star. Then, just slide your telescope a little south and west and you might find this stunning pair of interacting galaxies, the 51st entry in Charles Messier's famous catalog.