Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)NGC 5139: Omega Centauri
Centaurus is one of the most striking constellations in the southern sky. The Milky Way flows through this celestial expanse whose wonders also include the closest star system to the Sun, Alpha Centauri, and the largest globular star cluster in our galaxy, Omega Centauri (aka NGC 5139).
Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 1672
Many spiral galaxies have bars across their centers. Even our own Milky Way Galaxy is thought to have a modest central bar. Prominently barred spiral galaxy NGC 1672, pictured above, was captured in spectacular detail in this recently released image taken by the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope.
Water Claimed in Evaporating Planet HD 209458b
Planet HD 209458b is evaporating. It is so close to its parent star that its heated atmosphere is simply expanding away into space. Some astronomers studying this distant planetary system now believe they have detected water vapor among the gases being liberated.
MWC 922: The Red Square Nebula
What could cause a nebula to appear square? No one is quite sure. The hot star system known as MWC 922, however, appears to be imbedded in a nebula with just such a shape. The above image combines infrared exposures from the Hale Telescope on Mt.
M3: Inconstant Star Cluster
Star clusters appear constant because photographs of them are frozen in time. In reality, though, cluster stars swarm the center and frequently fluctuate in brightness. Although the time it takes for stars to cross...
Venus by the Lake
Finding Venus in the night sky is not too hard these days. Now appearing as the evening star, Venus rules as the brightest celestial beacon in west just after sunset. And if you can find Venus tonight, you can also easily find the lovely Pleiades star cluster (aka M45) close by.
Seven Dusty Sisters
Hurtling through a cosmic dust cloud a mere 400 light-years away, the lovely Pleiades or Seven Sisters star cluster is well-known in astronomical images for its striking blue reflection nebulae. At visible wavelengths...
The Cone Nebula Neighborhood
Cosmic clouds of hydrogen gas and dust abound in this gorgeous skyscape, stretching through Monocerous in the neighborhood of The Cone Nebula. A dark, obscuring dust cloud, the simple, sculpted shape of the Cone Nebula is near the lower left edge.
The Arms of NGC 4258
Better known as M106, bright spiral galaxy NGC 4258 is about 30 thousand light years across and 21 million light years away toward the northern constellation Canes Venatici. The yellow and red hues in this composite image show the galaxy's sweeping spiral arms as seen in visible and infrared light.
Saturn from Below
Swooping below Saturn, the Cassini spacecraft spied several strange wonders. Visible in the distance are some of the many complex rings that orbit the Solar System's second largest planet. In the foreground looms the gigantic world itself, covered with white dots that are clouds high in Saturn's thick atmosphere.