Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)M42: Inside the Orion Nebula
The Great Nebula in Orion, an immense, nearby starbirth region, is probably the most famous of all astronomical nebulas. Here, glowing gas surrounds hot young stars at the edge of an immense interstellar molecular cloud only 1500 light-years away.
Curiosity Rover Finds a Clay Cache on Mars
Why is there clay on Mars? On Earth, clay can form at the bottom of a peaceful lake when specific minerals trap water. At the pictured site on Mars, the robotic rover Curiosity drilled into two rocks and found the highest concentration of clay yet.
The Space Station Crosses a Spotless Sun
Typically, the International Space Station is visible only at night. Slowly drifting across the night sky as it orbits the Earth, the International Space Station (ISS) can be seen as a bright spot about once a month from many locations.
Ghost Aurora over Canada
What does this aurora look like to you? While braving the cold to watch the skies above northern Canada early one morning in 2013, a most unusual aurora appeared. The aurora definitely appeared to be shaped like something , but what?
Gravity s Grin
Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity, published over 100 years ago, predicted the phenomenon of gravitational lensing. And that's what gives these distant galaxies such a whimsical appearance, seen through the looking glass of X-ray and optical image data from the Chandra and Hubble space telescopes.
The Ghosts of Cassiopeia
These bright rims and flowing shapes look ghostly on a cosmic scale. A telescopic view toward the constellation Cassiopeia, the colorful skyscape features swept-back, comet-shaped clouds IC 59 (left) and IC 63. About 600 light-years distant, the clouds aren't actually ghosts.
Dark Seahorse in Cepheus
Light-years across, this suggestive shape known as the Seahorse Nebula appears in silhouette against a rich, luminous background of stars. Seen toward the royal northern constellation of Cepheus, the dusty, obscuring clouds are part of a Milky Way molecular cloud some 1,200 light-years distant.
Night Sky Reflections from the Worlds Largest Mirror
What's being reflected in the world's largest mirror? Stars, galaxies, and a planet. Many of these stars are confined to the grand arch that runs across the image, an arch that is the central plane of our home Milky Way Galaxy. Inside the arch is another galaxy -- the neighboring Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC).
A Mercury Transit Music Video from SDO
What's that small black dot moving across the Sun? Mercury. Possibly the clearest view of Mercury crossing in front of the Sun in 2016 May was from Earth orbit. The Solar Dynamics Observatory obtained an uninterrupted vista recording it not only in optical light but also in bands of ultraviolet light.
Pluto at Night
The night side of Pluto spans this shadowy scene, a stunning spacebased view with the Sun 4.9 billion kilometers (almost 4.5 light-hours) behind the dim and distant world. It was captured by far flung New Horizons in July of 2015.