Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Meteor in the Desert Sky
Created as planet Earth sweeps through dusty debris from mysterious, asteroid-like, 3200 Phaethon, the annual Geminid Meteor Shower should be the best meteor shower of the year. The Geminids are predicted to peak on the night of December 13/14, but you can start watching for Geminid meteors this weekend.
A Twilight Occultation
A thin, one day old crescent Moon hugged the western horizon after sunset on Monday, December 6. The Moon also occulted or passed in front of Mars. But only some well-placed skygazers along a band through North America were able to catch this lunar occultation's final act in fading twilight.
M81 and Arp s Loop
One of the brightest galaxies in planet Earth's sky and similar in size to the Milky Way, big, beautiful spiral M81 lies 11.8 million light-years away in the northern constellation Ursa Major. This...
Intrepid Crater on Mars
The robotic rover Opportunity has chanced across another small crater on Mars. Pictured above is Intrepid Crater, a 20-meter across impact basin slightly larger than Nereus Crater that Opportunity chanced across last year. The above image is in approximately true color but horizontally compressed to accommodate a wide angle panorama.
Too Close to a Black Hole
What would you see if you went right up to a black hole? Above is a computer generated image highlighting how strange things would look. The black hole has such strong gravity that light is noticeably bent towards it - causing some very unusual visual distortions.
Mono Lake: Home to the Strange Microbe GFAJ 1
How strange could alien life be? An indication that the fundamental elements that compose most terrestrial life forms might differ out in the universe was found in unusual Mono Lake in California, USA. Bacteria...
Moonrise Through Mauna Keas Shadow
How can the Moon rise through a mountain? It cannot -- what was photographed here is a moonrise through the shadow of a large volcano. The volcano is Mauna Kea, Hawai'i, USA, a frequent spot for spectacular photographs since it is arguably the premier observing location on planet Earth.
Sunset at the Spiral Jetty
In dwindling twilight at an August day's end, these broad dark bands appeared in the sky for a moment, seen from Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty on the eastern shore of Utah's Great Salt Lake.
M33: Triangulum Galaxy
The small, northern constellation Triangulum harbors this magnificent face-on spiral galaxy, M33. Its popular names include the Pinwheel Galaxy or just the Triangulum Galaxy. M33 is over 50,000 light-years in diameter, third largest in the Local Group of galaxies after the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), and our own Milky Way.
Hartley 2 Star Cluster Tour
Early in November, small but active Comet Hartley 2 (103/P Hartley) became the fifth comet imaged close-up by a spacecraft from planet Earth. Continuing its own tour of the solar system with a 6 year orbital period, Hartley 2 is now appearing in the nautical constellation Puppis.