Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Fliers Around the Blue Snowball Nebula
Planetary nebulae are strange. First, they are gas clouds and have nothing to do with our Solar System's planets. Next, although hundreds of planetary nebulae have been catalogued and thousands surely exist in our Galaxy, aspects of the formation process are still debated.
The Blue Snowball Planetary Nebula
Will the Sun one day look like - a blue snowball? Maybe! The Blue Snowball is a planetary nebula - and in 5 billion years the Sun will throw off its outer layers and go through a planetary nebula phase.
Europa Full Face
What mysteries might be solved by peering into this crystal ball? This crystal ball is quite unusual because it is actually a moon of Jupiter, the crystals are ice-crystals, and the ball is not only dirty and opaque but cracked beyond repair.
Fractal Interstellar Dust Up-Close
Our universe is a very dusty place. Dust usually shows its presence by blocking out light emitted from stars or nebula behind it, sometimes creating the illusion of a horse's head or a sombrero hat. But nobody really knows what a typical interstellar dust grain looks like.
Unusual M82: The Cigar Galaxy
Something strange happened to this galaxy, but what? M82 is a nearby galaxy in the group of galaxies dominated by itself, M81, and NGC 3077. M82 is thought by some to be limping away from a close encounter with M81.
A Quasar in the Gamma Ray Sky
The bright object in the center of the false color image above is quasar 3C279 viewed in gamma-rays, photons with more than 40 million times the energy of visible light. Like all quasars, 3C279 is a nondescript, faint, starlike object in the visible sky.
The Leonid Meteor Shower (Tonight)
Tonight thousands of icy rocks will hurl toward Earth in a fascinating display of light called the Leonid Meteor Shower. There is little danger - few will reach the ground. But this year's Leonids could be nothing compared to the Leonids in 1998.
Searching For Solar Systems
Observational astronomy has recently provided evidence of the existence of massive Jupiter-sized planets orbiting distant suns, protoplanetary disks of gas and dust surrounding newly formed stars, and planetary bodies orbiting exotic stellar corpses known as pulsars. Indeed, the formation of planets seems to be a broader and more varied phenomenon than previously imagined.
Supernova Remnant and Neutron Star
A massive star ends life as a supernova, blasting its outer layers back to interstellar space. The spectacular death explosion is initiated by the collapse of what has become an impossibly dense stellar core. However, this core is not necessarily destroyed.
Seven Jets from Comet Hale-Bopp
Comet Hale-Bopp is turning out to be quite unusual. One reason is the great amount of jet activity at such a large distance from the Sun. In the above false-color image, no less than seven jets can be seen emanating from Hale-Bopp's coma.