Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Raining Perseids
Tonight is a good night to see meteors. Comet dust will rain down on planet Earth, streaking through dark skies in the annual Perseid meteor shower. While enjoying the anticipated space weather, astronomer Fred...
Cosmic Tornado HH 49 50
Light-years in length, this cosmic tornado is actually a powerful jet cataloged as HH (Herbig-Haro) 49/50 blasting down from the top of a Spitzer Space Telescope view. Though such energetic outflows are well known...
Star Factory Messier 17
Sculpted by stellar winds and radiation, the star factory known as Messier 17 lies some 5,500 light-years away in the nebula-rich constellation Sagittarius. At that distance, this 30 arcminute field of view spans almost 50 light-years.
Star Cluster Messier 67
Gathered at the center of this sharp skyview are the stars of Messier 67, one of the oldest known open star clusters. In fact, though open star clusters are usually much younger, the stars...
Phoenix Rises Toward Mars
Can Mars sustain life? To help answer this question, last week NASA launched the Phoenix mission to Mars. In May 2008, Phoenix is expected to land in an unexplored north polar region of Mars that is rich in water-ice.
Old Faithful Below a Yellowstone Sky
You don't have to be at Yellowstone to see a sky this beautiful, but it helps. Only at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, USA, would you see the picturesque foreground of the famous Old Faithful Geyser erupting in front an already picturesque sky.
CG4: A Ruptured Cometary Globule
Can a gas cloud eat a galaxy? It's not even close. The odd looking "creature" or "hand" extending down from the top of the above photo is a gas cloud known as a cometary globule. This globule, however, has ruptured. Cometary globules are typically characterized by dusty heads and elongated tails.
APOD: 2007 August 5- The Dotted Dunes of Mars
What causes the black dots on dunes on Mars? As spring dawned on the Northern Hemisphere of Mars in 2004, dunes of sand near the poles begin to defrost. Thinner regions of ice typically thaw first revealing sand whose darkness soaks in sunlight and accelerates the thaw.
These three bright nebulae are often featured in telescopic tours of the constellation Sagittarius and the crowded starfields of the central Milky Way. In fact, 18th century cosmic tourist Charles Messier cataloged two of them; M8, the nebula below and right of center, and colorful M20 at the upper right.
NGC 7293: The Helix Nebula
A mere seven hundred light years from Earth, in the constellation Aquarius, a sun-like star is dying. Its last few thousand years have produced the Helix Nebula (NGC 7293), a well studied and nearby example of a Planetary Nebula, typical of this final phase of stellar evolution.