Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Giant Cluster Bends, Breaks Images
What are those strange blue objects? Many of the brightest blue images are of a single, unusual, beaded, blue, ring-like galaxy which just happens to line-up behind a giant cluster of galaxies. Cluster galaxies here typically appear yellow and -- together with the cluster's dark matter -- act as a gravitational lens.
The Gum Nebula
Named for Australian astronomer Colin Stanley Gum (1924-1960), The Gum Nebula is so large and close it is actually hard to see. In fact, we are only about 450 light-years from the front edge and 1,500 light-years from the back edge of this cosmic cloud of glowing hydrogen gas.
The Whale and the Hockey Stick
NGC 4631 is a big beautiful spiral galaxy seen edge-on (top right) only 25 million light-years away towards the small northern constellation Canes Venatici. This galaxy's slightly distorted wedge shape suggests to some a cosmic herring and to others the popular moniker of The Whale Galaxy.
During July 22nd's solar eclipse, the Moon's dark shadow traced a narrow path as it raced eastward across India and China and on into the Pacific. Hong Kong was south...
IC 1396 and Surrounding Starfield
Sprawling across hundreds of light-years, emission nebula IC 1396, visible on the upper right, mixes glowing cosmic gas and dark dust clouds. Stars are forming in this area, only about 3,000 light-years from Earth. This wide angle view also captures surrounding emission and absorption nebula.
The Milky Way Over the Badlands
Why take a picture of just the Badlands when you can take one that also shows the spectacular sky above it? Just such a picture, actually a digital stitched panorama of four images, was taken in late June near midnight, looking southwest.
Perseids from Perseus
Where are all of these meteors coming from? In terms of direction on the sky, the pointed answer is the constellation of Perseus. That is why the last week's meteor shower was known as the Perseids -- the meteors all appear to come from a radiant toward Perseus.
A Laser Strike at the Galactic Center
Why are these people shooting a powerful laser into the center of our Galaxy? Fortunately, this is not meant to be the first step in a Galactic war. Rather, astronomers at the Very Large Telescope (VLT) site in Chile are trying to measure the distortions of Earth's ever changing atmosphere.
Meteor by Moonlight
Dark skies are favored for viewing meteor showers. But the annual Perseid Meteor Shower still entertained skygazers around the world this week even though the Moon brightened the night. At its last quarter phase...
Shuttle and Meteor
This early morning skyscape was captured last week on August 4th, looking northeast across calm waters in the Turn Basin at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. In a striking contrast in motion, the space...