Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)IC 418: The Spirograph Nebula
What is creating the strange texture of IC 418? Dubbed the Spirograph Nebula for its resemblance to drawings from a cyclical drawing tool, planetary nebula IC 418 shows patterns that are not well understood. Perhaps they are related to chaotic winds from the variable central star, which changes brightness unpredictably in just a few hours.
The Iron Sun
The ultraviolet light emitted by eleven times ionized iron at temperatures over 2 million degrees Farenheit was used to record the above picture of the Sun on September 22, the date of the autumnal equinox.
NGC 6992: A Glimpse of the Veil
After 5,000 years, the gorgeous Veil Nebula is still turning heads. Cataloged as NGC 6992, these glowing filaments of interstellar shocked gas are part of a larger spherical supernova remnant known as the Cygnus Loop or the Veil Nebula -- expanding debris from a star which exploded over 5,000 years ago.
Elements of Nearby Spiral M33
Spiral galaxy M33 is a mid-sized member of our Local Group of Galaxies. M33 is also called the Triangulum Galaxy for the constellation in which it resides. About four times smaller (in radius) than...
Comet Borrelly's Nucleus
What does a comet nucleus look like? To answer this question, NASA controllers drove an aging probe through the hostile environs of a distant comet, expecting that even if comet fragments disabled the spacecraft, it would be worth the risk. The probe, Deep Space 1, survived.
The Highs and Lows of Earth
What's up on planet Earth? A truly global answer has now been created by the Global Land One-km Base Elevation (GLOBE) Project. Pictured above is the best digital elevation map yet created...
A Solar Prominence Erupts
Our Sun is still very active. Last year, our Sun went though Solar Maximum, the time in its 11-year cycle where the most sunspots and explosive activities occur. Sunspots, the Solar Cycle, and solar prominences are all caused by the Sun's changing magnetic field.
Molecular Cloud Barnard 68
Where did all the stars go? What used to be considered a hole in the sky is now known to astronomers as a dark molecular cloud. Here, a high concentration of dust and molecular gas absorb practically all the visible light emitted from background stars.
Full Throttle For Deep Space 1
At full throttle the Deep Space 1 spacecraft's innovative ion drive produces about 1/50th of a pound of thrust ... a force so great that it would just about hold up a piece of paper on planet Earth! Still, powered by solar arrays ion propulsion systems can run continuously.
Where a Black Hole Roams
Black hole candidate XTE J1118+480 is known to roam the halo of our Milky Way Galaxy. This exotic system - thought to be a stellar mass black hole consuming matter from a companion star - was discovered only last year as a flaring celestial x-ray source.