Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Local Group Galaxy NGC 205
The Milky Way Galaxy is not alone. It is part of a gathering of about 25 galaxies known as the Local Group. Members include the Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31), M32, M33, the Large Magellanic Clouds, the Small Magellanic Clouds, Dwingeloo 1, several small irregular galaxies, and many dwarf elliptical galaxies.
Mercury Astronauts and a Redstone
Space suited project Mercury astronauts John H. Glenn, Virgil I. Grissom, and Alan B. Shepard Jr. (left to right) are pictured here posing in front of a Redstone rocket in this 1961 NASA publicity photo. Project Mercury was the first U.S. program designed to put humans in space.
Dwarf Elliptical Galaxy M32
Being the largest galaxy around can sometimes make you popular. Pictured is M31's companion galaxy M32. M31, the Andromeda galaxy, is the largest galaxy in our Local Group of galaxies - even our tremendous Milky Way Galaxy is smaller.
The Toby Jug Nebula
Is the only thing unusual about this nebula its shape? Pictured above is the IC 2220 - the Toby Jug Nebula - a reflection nebula surrounding a normal red giant star. Reflection nebulae shine by light reflected from the central star(s).
Symbiotic Star System R Aquarii
Sometimes stars work together to create a spectacular display. Such is the case with the binary star system R Aquarii - a "symbiotic" star system. Here two stars, a variable giant and a white dwarf companion - create both a nebula and a jet.
The X-ray Timing Explorer
Launched Saturday on a Delta rocket, the X-ray Timing Explorer (XTE) will watch the sky for rapid changes in X-rays. XTE carries three separate X-ray telescopes. The Proportional Counter Array (PCA) and the High Energy X-ray Timing Experiment (HEXTE) will provide the best timing information in the widest X-ray energy range yet available.
The X-Ray Sky
What if you could see X-rays? If you could, the night sky would be a strange and unfamiliar place. X-rays are about 1,000 times more energetic than visible light photons and are produced in violent and high temperature astrophysical environments.
Shuttle Engine Blast
The Space Shuttle Discovery's orbital maneuvering system (OMS) engine firing produced this dramatic flare as it cruised "upside down" in low Earth orbit. Discovery was named for a ship commanded by Captain James Cook RN, the 18th Century English astronomer and navigator.
The X-ray Sources of M31
Just like our own Milky Way Galaxy, the nearest major galaxy M31 has many star systems spewing high energy radiation. High energy X-radiation is visible to certain satellites in Earth orbit such as ROSAT - which took the above picture.
LMC X-1: A Black Hole Candidate
The strongest source of X-rays in the Large Magellanic Cloud originates from an unusually energetic binary star system. This strong source, dubbed LMC X-1, is thought to be a normal and compact star orbiting each other. Gas stripped of the normal star falls onto the compact star, heats up, and emits X-rays.