Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)NGC 5307: A Symmetric Planetary Nebula
Some stellar nebulae are strangely symmetric. For example, every major blob of gas visible on the upper left of NGC 5307 appears to have a counterpart on the lower right. This picture taken by the Hubble Space Telescope was released last week. NGC 5307 is an example of a planetary nebula with a spiral shape.
NGC 7009: The Saturn Nebula
The layers of the Saturn Nebula give a complex picture of how this planetary nebula was created. The above picture, taken in April 1996 and released last week, allows a better understanding of the mysterious process that transformed a low-mass star into a white dwarf star.
The Milky Way in Infrared
At night, from a dark location, part of the clear sky looks milky. This unusual swath of dim light is generally visible during any month and from any location. Until the invention of the telescope, nobody really knew what the "Milky Way" was.
Pluto: The Frozen Planet
The Hubble Space Telescope imaged Pluto and its moon Charon in 1994. Pluto is usually the most distant planet from the Sun but because of its elliptic orbit Pluto crossed inside of Neptune's orbit in 1979 and will cross back out again in 1999.
Keck: The Largest Optical Telescopes
In buildings eight stories tall rest mirrors ten meters across that are slowly allowing humanity to map the universe. Alone, each is the world's largest optical telescope: Keck. Together, the twin Keck telescopes have the resolving power of a single telescope 90-meter in diameter, able to discern sources just milliarcseconds apart.
West Of The Great Red Spot
The turbulent region West of Jupiter's Great Red Spot is highlighted in this recent picture constructed from data recorded by the Galileo spacecraft. The image is color coded to show cloud height and thickness; white clouds are high and thick, light blue clouds are high and thin, and reddish clouds are low.
A Hale Bopp Holiday
Seen from the Pik Terskol Observatory in the northern Caucasus mountains, comet Hale-Bopp and the bright stars of the constellation Perseus hang above the snowy, moon-lit landscape. Although it reminds Northern Hemisphere dwellers of an idyllic Winter scene, this picture was actually recorded in the spring - on April 13th of this year.
30 Doradus Across the Spectrum
30 Doradus is lit up like a Christmas tree. Shining in light across the electromagnetic spectrum, 30 Doradus glows because of all the energetic processes that go on there. A distinctive region visible...
M2-9: Wings of a Planetary Nebula
Are stars better appreciated for their art after they die? Actually, stars usually create their most artistic displays as they die. In the case of low-mass stars like our Sun and M2-9 pictured above, the stars transform themselves from normal stars to white dwarfs by casting off their outer gaseous envelopes.
David N. Schramm, 1945 - 1997
David N. Schramm effectively combined the very big with the very small. Among his many scientific achievements, Schramm and collaborators successfully used Big Bang cosmology to predict that only three families of elementary particles exist in the universe, which was subsequently confirmed by high energy particle accelerators.