Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Saturn with Moons Tethys and Dione
Saturn and two of its larger moons - Tethys and Dione - were photographed by the Voyager 1 spacecraft which flew by the planet in November of 1980. This picture gives an indication of Saturn's extensive ring system, which can be seen casting a shadow on the planet, as does Tethys.
A Cosmic Snowball
Like cosmic snowballs, fluffy comet-like objects the size of houses and composed mostly of water-ice, may be pummeling planet Earth 5 to 30 times a minute. This controversial theory was originally proposed in 1986 by Dr. Louis Frank (U. Iowa) based on data from NASA's Dynamics Explorer 1.
Neptune, the Solar System's outermost gas giant planet, is 30 times farther from the Sun than Earth. Twelve years after a 1977 launch, Voyager 2 flew by Neptune and found surprising activity on a planet that receives only 3 percent as much sunlight as Jupiter.
Mars: Just The Fiction
For centuries, astronomers have observed Mars, patiently compiling many facts and theories. Like a distant mirror of Earth dwellers' hopes and fears for the future, Mars, the fourth planet from the sun, has inspired profound works of fiction as well.
Moonrise, Planet Earth
During the Astro-1 astronomy mission of December, 1990, Space Shuttle astronauts photographed this stunning view of the full moon rising above the Earth's limb. In the foreground, towering clouds of condensing water vapor mark the extent of the troposphere, the lowest layer of the planet's life-sustaining atmosphere.
Old Faithful Meets Hale-Bopp
As Comet Hale-Bopp leaves our Northern Skies, it provides us with yet another burst of joy. On May 11th the fading comet was photographed behind the famous "Old Faithful" water geyser of Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA, Planet Earth.
A High Energy Fleet
Looking like a fleet of futuristic starcruisers, NASA's highly successful series of High Energy Astrophysical Observatory (HEAO) spacecraft appear poised over planet Earth. Labeled A, B, and C in this vintage illustration, the spacebased telescopes were known as HEAO-1, HEAO-2, and HEAO-3 respectively.
Saturn's Rings Seen Sideways
Saturn's rings are actually very thin. This picture from the Hubble Space Telescope was taken on August 6, 1995 when the rings lined up sideways as seen from Earth. Saturn's largest moon Titan is seen on the left, and Titan's shadow can be seen on Saturn's cloud tops!
The Heart Of Orion
Newborn stars lie at the heart of the Orion Nebula, hidden from view by the dust and gas of the giant Orion Molecular Cloud number 1 (OMC-1). Sensitive to invisible infrared wavelengths, Hubble...
Bound For Mars
Two NASA spacecraft, Mars Global Surveyor and Mars Pathfinder, are presently approaching the red planet. Pathfinder is scheduled to land on July 4th and Global Surveyor due to enter orbit in September. Recent studies...