Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Mercury's Faults
The surface of the planet Mercury is not without fault. In this case, however, "fault" refers to unusual surface features that are the topic of much speculation. The above fault line is called Santa Maria Rupes, and runs through many prominent craters.
Mercury's Caloris Basin
Mercury, the closest planet to the Sun, has a surface with so many craters it resembles the Earth's Moon. The largest surface feature on Mercury is the Caloris Basin, which resulted from a collision with an asteroid.
The Dusty Disk of Beta Pic
This dusty disk, viewed edge on surrounding Beta Pictoris, a star only 50 lightyears distant, may signal the presence of an infant solar system. Beta Pictoris is a young Sun-like star just completing its formative stages.
MyCn18: An Hourglass Nebula
The sands of time are running out for the central star of this hourglass-shaped planetary nebula. With its nuclear fuel exhausted, this brief, spectacular, closing phase of a Sun-like star's life occurs as its outer layers are ejected - its core becoming a cooling, fading White Dwarf.
NGC 7027: A Dying Star's Nebula
This pseudo-color composite of two recent Hubble Space Telescope images is a picture of a Sun-like star nearing the end of its lifetime. The exquisite details visible in this planetary nebula indicate that when...
Wild Duck Open Cluster M11
Many stars like our Sun were formed in open clusters. The above open cluster, M11, contains thousands of stars and is just over three thousand light years distant. The stars in this cluster all formed together about 150 million years ago. The many bright stars in the cluster appear blue.
The Dawn of the Clusters
What did the universe look like near the beginning? This exciting photo by the Hubble Space Telescope is one of the deepest ever taken, and shows galaxies as far away as ever before photographed. The universe back then - when only one third of its present age - was a strange and violent place.
A Distant Cluster of Galaxies
Every bright object in this 1994 photograph by the Hubble Space Telescope is a galaxy. Oddly - most of the objects are spiral galaxies. This rich cluster of galaxies, named CL 0939+4713, is almost half way across the visible universe.
Lunokhod 1: Moon Robot
On November 17, 1970 the Soviet Luna 17 spacecraft landed the first roving remote-controlled robot on the Moon. Known as Lunokhod 1, it weighed just under 2,000 pounds and was designed to operate for 90 days while guided by a 5-person team on planet Earth at the Deep Space Center near Moscow, USSR.
Looking like a target ring bull's-eye, the Mare Orientale is one of the most striking large scale lunar features. Located on the Moon's extreme western edge, this impact basin is unfortunately difficult to see from an earthbound perspective.