Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Will the Universe End in a Big Rip
How will our universe end? Recent speculation now includes a pervasive growing field of mysterious repulsive phantom energy that rips virtually everything apart. Although the universe started with a Big Bang, analysis of cosmological measurements allows a possibility that it will end with a Big Rip.
The Milky Road
Inspired during a visit to Fort Davis, Texas, home of McDonald Observatory and dark night skies, photographer Larry Landolfi created this tantalizing fantasy view. The composited image suggests the Milky Way is a heavenly extension of a deserted country road.
IC 5067: A Piece of the Pelican
(xxxedit and linkxxx) The prominent ridge of emission featured in this dramatic skyscape is cataloged as IC 5067. Part of a larger emission nebula with a distinctive shape, popularly called The Pelican Nebula, the ridge spans about 10 light-years following the curve of the cosmic pelican's head and neck.
The Elephant s Trunk in IC 1396
Like an illustration in a galactic Just So Story, the Elephant's Trunk Nebula winds through the emission nebula and young star cluster complex IC 1396, in the high and far off constellation of Cepheus. Of course, this cosmic elephant's trunk is over 20 light-years long.
I Zwicky 18: The Case of the Aging Galaxy
How old is this galaxy? The galaxy on the left, I Zwicky 18, was once thought to be one of the youngest galaxies on record since its bright stars indicated an age of only 500 million years.
SN 2005ap: The Brightest Supernova Yet Found
What could cause a bang this big? This supernova explosion was so inherently bright that it could be seen nearby 5 billion light years away (a redshift of 0.28) even with a small telescope.
Jupiter s Clouds from New Horizons
The New Horizons spacecraft took some stunning images of Jupiter earlier this year while on the way out to Pluto. Famous for its Great Red Spot, Jupiter is also known for its regular, equatorial cloud bands, visible through even modest sized telescopes.
NGC 3132: The Eight Burst Nebula
It's the dim star, not the bright one, near the center of NGC 3132 that created this odd but beautiful planetary nebula. Nicknamed the Eight-Burst Nebula and the Southern Ring Nebula, the glowing gas originated in the outer layers of a star like our Sun.
Enceladus Ice Geysers
Ice geysers erupt on Enceladus, bright and shiny inner moon of Saturn. Shown in this false-color image, a backlit view of the moon's southern limb, the majestic, icy plumes were discovered by instruments on the Cassini Spacecraft during close encounters with Enceladus in November of 2005.
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.