Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Three Planets from Mt Hamilton
Venus, Mercury, and Saturn wandered close together in western evening skies last week. On Saturnday, June 25, astronomer R. Jay GaBany recorded this snapshot of their eye-catching planetary conjunction, from historic Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton, California, USA.
Thirteen Million Kilometers from Comet Tempel 1
The Deep Impact spacecraft continues to close on Comet Tempel 1, a comet roughly the size of Manhattan. Early on July 3 (EDT), the Deep Impact spacecraft will separate in to two individual robotic spaceships, one called Flyby and the other called Impactor.
The Giant Radio Lobes of Fornax A
Together, the radio lobes span over one million light years -- what caused them? In the center is a large but peculiar elliptical galaxy dubbed NGC 1316. Detailed inspection of the NGC 1316 system indicates that it began absorbing a small neighboring galaxy about 100 million years ago.
Globular Cluster M22 from CFHT
The globular cluster M22, pictured above, contains over 100,000 stars. These stars formed together and are gravitationally bound. Stars orbit the center of the cluster, and the cluster orbits the center of our Galaxy. So far, about 140 globular clusters are known to exist in a roughly spherical halo around the Galactic center.
The 2MASS Galaxy Sky
Are the nearest galaxies distributed randomly? A plot of over one million of the brightest "extended sources" detected by the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) shows that they are not. The vast majority of these infrared extended sources are galaxies.
Venus: Just Passing By
Venus, the second closest planet to the Sun, is by far the brightest of the three planets gathered in this weekend's western sky at sunset. It has also proven to be a popular way-point for spacecraft headed for the gas giant planets in the outer reaches of the solar system. Why visit Venus first?
Planets in the West
This weekend three planets will grace the western sky, forming a lovely trio easily visible shortly after sunset. Saturday evening in particular will find Saturn, Venus, and Mercury all within a 2 degree circle (about the size of your thumb held at arm's length) above the western horizon.
Moonrise, Cape Sounion, Greece
The Moon was full this month on June 22nd, only a day after the northern hemisphere's summer solstice. Since this solstice marked the northernmost point of the Sun's annual motion through planet...
Saturns Rings from the Other Side
What do Saturn's rings look like from the other side? From Earth, we usually see Saturn's rings from the same side of the ring plane that the Sun illuminates them. Geometrically...
The Cygnus Wall of Star Formation
The North America Nebula in the sky can do what North Americans on Earth cannot -- form stars. Specifically, in analogy to the Earth-confined continent, the bright part that appears as Central America and Mexico is actually a hot bed of gas, dust, and newly formed stars known as the Cygnus Wall.