Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)SH2 136: A Spooky Nebula
The dark nebula SH2-136 appears to be celebrating Halloween all of the time. The complex process of star formation create dust clouds of many shapes and sizes -- it is human perception that might identify a ghoulish creature, on the right of the above image, chasing humans.
Crescent Venus and Moon
There's something behind these clouds. Those faint graceful arcs, upon inspection, are actually far, far in the distance. They are the Earth's Moon and the planet Venus. Both the Moon and Venus are bright enough to be seen during the day, and both are quite capable of showing a crescent phase.
The Sun Puffs
Our Earth endures bursts of particles from the Sun. On 1997 April 7, at 10 am (EDT), ground monitors of the SOHO spacecraft, which continually monitors the Sun, noticed a weak spot in the solar corona was buckling again, this time letting loose a large, explosive Coronal Mass Ejection (CME).
Comet SWAN Outburst
Near its closest approach to planet Earth, comet SWAN (C/2006 M4) brightened unexpectedly earlier this week, becoming visible to naked-eye observers under dark night skies. Telescopic observers also noticed dramatic changes in the comet's colorful coma and tail, seen in this view recorded on October 25th.
The Spider and The Fly
Star clusters and nebulae abound in the ancient northern constellation Auriga - a region that includes the interesting pair NGC 1931 (lower left) and IC 417. In this gorgeous color image, an imaginative eye toward the expansive IC 417 and diminutive NGC 1931 suggests a cosmic spider and fly.
The Crab Nebula is cataloged as M1, the first object on Charles Messier's famous list of things which are not comets. In fact, the Crab is now known to be a supernova remnant, expanding debris from the death explosion of a massive star.
Help Search for Interstellar Dust
What caused that hole? The hole in question appears as a small dark circle on the far right. If the above image of aerogel seems dull and uninteresting, then welcome to one aspect of real world science.
The Antennae Galaxies in Collision
Two galaxies are squaring off in Corvus and here are the latest pictures. When two galaxies collide, however, the stars that compose them usually do not. This is because galaxies are mostly empty space and, however bright, stars only take up only a small amount of that space.
Orionid Meteors Over Turkey
Meteors have been flowing out from the constellation Orion. This was expected, as mid-October is the time of year for the Orionids Meteor Shower. Pictured above, over a dozen meteors were caught in successively added exposures over three hours taken this past weekend from a town near Bursa, Turkey.
Star EGGs in the Eagle Nebula
Where do stars form? One place, star forming regions known as "EGGs", are uncovered at the end of this giant pillar of gas and dust in the Eagle Nebula (M16). EGGs, short for evaporating gaseous globules, are dense regions of mostly molecular hydrogen gas that fragment and gravitationally collapse to form stars.