Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Star EGGs in the Eagle Nebula
Where do stars form? One place, star forming regions known as "EGGs", are uncovered at the end of this giant pillar of gas and dust in the Eagle Nebula (M16). EGGs, short for evaporating gaseous globules, are dense regions of mostly molecular hydrogen gas that fragment and gravitationally collapse to form stars.
Clyde Tombaugh discovered planet Pluto in 1930 while surveying the skies with the 13-inch Lawrence Lowell Telescope. But the skilled and careful astronomer also went on to discover star clusters, comets, asteroids, and clusters of galaxies. For example, pictured is galactic or open star cluster Tombaugh 4 in the northern constellation Cassiopeia.
IC 4628: The Prawn Nebula
South of Antares, in the tail of the nebula-rich constellation Scorpius, lies emission nebula IC 4628. Nearby hot, massive stars, millions of years young, radiate the nebula with invisible ultraviolet light, stripping electrons from atoms. The electrons eventually recombine with the atoms to produce the visible nebular glow.
SWAN Meets Galaxy
This cosmic portrait recorded October 9th features the lovely blue-green coma of Comet SWAN posing with spiral galaxy NGC 5005 in the northern constellation Canes Venatici. At the time the comet (center) was in the close foreground, a mere 9 light-minutes from planet Earth, with the galaxy a more substantial 60 million light-years distant.
NGC 7635: The Bubble
What created this huge space bubble? Blown by the wind from a star, this tantalizing, ghostly apparition is cataloged as NGC 7635, but known simply as The Bubble Nebula. Astronomer Eric Mouquet's striking view utilizes a long exposure with hydrogen alpha light to reveal the intricate details of this cosmic bubble and its environment.
Clouds and Sand on the Horizon of Mars
If you could stand on Mars -- what might you see? Like the robotic Opportunity rover rolling across the red planet, you might well see vast plains of red sand, an orange tinted sky, and wispy light clouds.
In the Shadow of Saturn
In the shadow of Saturn, unexpected wonders appear. The robotic Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn recently drifted in giant planet's shadow for about 12 hours and looked back toward the eclipsed Sun. Cassini saw a view unlike any other.
An Orion Deep Field
Adrift 1,500 light-years away in one of the night sky's most recognizable constellations, the glowing Orion Nebula and the dark Horsehead Nebula are contrasting cosmic vistas. They both appear in this stunning composite digital image assembled from over 20 hours of data that includes exposures filtered to record emission from hydrogen atoms.
Full Moon Crossing
On October 6th, a nearly full perigee Moon shone in Earth's night sky. The bright moonlight, accurate planning, and proper equipment resulted in this amazing composite featuring sharp silhouettes of the International Space Station (ISS) as it rapidly crossed (right to left) in front of the lunar disk.
The Hubble SWEEPS Field
This crowded star field towards the center of our Milky Way Galaxy turns out to be a great place to search for planets beyond our solar system. In fact, repeatedly imaging about...