Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Animation of Asteroids Passing Near Earth
How often does an asteroid whiz by the Earth? The above time-lapse animation follows the orbit of the Earth around the Sun for two months in 2002 as numerous asteroids, also known as minor planets, approach and pass by. Some asteroids appear out of nowhere as they are plotted only when they were discovered.
Moonquakes Surprisingly Common
Why are there so many moonquakes? A recent reanalysis of seismometers left on the moon by the Apollo moon landings has revealed a surprising number of moonquakes occurring within 30 kilometers of the surface. In fact, 28 moonquakes were detected in data recorded between 1972 and 1977.
Doomed Star Eta Carinae
Eta Carinae may be about to explode. But no one knows when - it may be next year, it may be one million years from now. Eta Carinae's mass - about 100 times greater than our Sun - makes it an excellent candidate for a full blown supernova.
Northern Spring on Mars
Astronomical spring came to planet Earth's northern hemisphere this week (and autumn to the south) with the equinox on March 20th. But on Mars, northern spring began on January 22nd. Still in northern...
When Roses Aren t Red
Not all roses are red of course, but they can still be very pretty. Likewise, the beautiful Rosette Nebula and other star forming regions are often shown in astronomical images with a predominately red hue - in part because the dominant emission in the nebula is from hydrogen atoms.
Inflating the Universe
The Universe is expanding gradually now. But its initial expansion was almost impossibly rapid as it likely grew from quantum scale fluctuations in a trillionth of a second. In fact, this cosmological scenario, known as Inflation, is now reported to be further quantified by an analysis of three years of data from the WMAP spacecraft.
Enceladus Near Saturn
Some images of Saturn appear surreal. Earlier this year, the robot spacecraft Cassini now orbiting Saturn took this surreal image of the gas giant Saturn, its majestic rings, and its enigmatic world Enceladus all in one frame.
The Coma Cluster of Galaxies
Almost every object in the above photograph is a galaxy. The Coma Cluster of Galaxies pictured above is one of the densest clusters known - it contains thousands of galaxies. Each of these galaxies houses billions of stars - just as our own Milky Way Galaxy does.
Super Earths May Circle Other Stars
Are "super-Earths" common around other star systems? Quite possibly. Unexpected evidence for this came to light recently when a planet orbiting a distant star gravitationally magnified the light of an even more distant star.
Our Busy Solar System
Our Solar System is a busy place. Although the major planets get the most press, a swarm of rocks, comets, and asteroids also exist. The above plot shows the placement of known inner Solar System objects on 2002 July 20. The light blue lines indicate the orbits of planets.