Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)1006 AD: Supernova in the Sky
A new star, likely the brightest supernova in recorded human history, appeared in planet Earth's sky about 1,000 years ago today, in 1006 AD. The expanding debris cloud from the stellar explosion is still visible to modern astronomers, but what did the supernova look like in 1006?
Skylab Over Earth
Skylab was an orbiting laboratory launched by a in May 1973. Skylab, pictured above, was visited three times by NASA astronauts who sometimes stayed as long as two and a half months. Many scientific tests were performed on Skylab, including astronomical observations in ultraviolet and X-ray light.
NGC 7635: Bubble in a Cosmic Sea
Seemingly adrift in a cosmic sea of stars and glowing gas, the delicate, floating apparition near the center (next to a blue tinted star) of this widefield view is cataloged as NGC 7635 - The Bubble Nebula.
NGC 4696: Energy from a Black Hole
In many cosmic environments, when material falls toward a black hole energy is produced as some of the matter is blasted back out in jets. In fact, such black hole "engines" appear to be the most efficient in the Universe, at least on a galactic scale.
Crumbling Comet Schwassmann Wachmann 3 Approaches
A crumbling comet will soon pass near the Earth. Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 is brightening and may even be visible to the unaided eye when the fragmented comet zooms past Earth during the middle of next month.
M82: Galaxy with a Supergalactic Wind
What's lighting up the Cigar Galaxy? M82, as this irregular galaxy is also known, was stirred up by a recent pass near large spiral galaxy M81. This doesn't fully explain the source of the red-glowing outwardly expanding gas, however.
Star Clouds over Arizona
The clouds in the foreground are much different than the clouds in the background. In the foreground are a photogenic deck of Earth-based water clouds. The long exposure used to create the above photograph makes the light from the left, reflected from Phoenix, Arizona, USA, appear like a sunset.
The Solar Spectrum
It is still not known why the Sun's light is missing some colors. Shown above are all the visible colors of the Sun, produced by passing the Sun's light through a prism-like device.
Z is for Mars
This composite of images spaced about a week apart - from late July 2005 (bottom right) through February 2006 (top left) - traces the retrograde motion of ruddy-colored Mars through planet Earth's night sky. On November 7th, 2005 the Red Planet was opposite the Sun in Earth's sky (at opposition).
NGC 253: Dusty Island Universe
Shiny NGC 253, sometimes called the Silver Dollar Galaxy, is one of the brightest spiral galaxies visible - and also one of the dustiest. First swept up in 1783 by mathematician and astronomer Caroline Herschel, the dusty island universe lies a mere 10 million light-years away in the southern constellation Sculptor.