Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)The Witch Head Nebula
Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble .... maybe Macbeth should have consulted the Witch Head Nebula. A suggestively shaped reflection nebula, this cosmic crone is about 800 light-years away though. Its frightening visage seems to glare toward nearby bright star Rigel in Orion, just off the right edge of this frame.
IC 1871: Inside the Soul Nebula
This cosmic close-up looks deep inside the Soul Nebula. The dark and brooding dust clouds outlined by bright ridges of glowing gas are cataloged as IC 1871. About 25 light-years across, the telescopic field of view spans only a small part of the much larger Heart and Soul nebulae.
Massive Black Hole Shreds Passing Star
What happens when a star gets too close to a black hole? Recent observations from Earth-orbiting observatories of an event dubbed ASASSN-14li, in a distant galactic center, appears to be giving one star's harrowing story.
Bright from the Heart Nebula
What's that inside the Heart Nebula? First, the large emission nebula dubbed IC 1805 looks, in whole, like a human heart. The nebula glows brightly in red light emitted by its most prominent element: hydrogen.
Charon and the Small Moons of Pluto
What do the moons of Pluto look like? Before a decade ago, only the largest moon Charon was known, but never imaged. As the robotic New Horizons spacecraft was prepared and launched, other moons were identified on Hubble images but remained only specks of light.
Jupiter and Venus from Earth
It was visible around the world. The sunset conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in 2012 was visible almost no matter where you lived on Earth. Anyone on the planet with a clear western horizon at sunset could see them.
Jupiter in 2015
Two remarkable global maps of Jupiter's banded cloud tops can be compared by just sliding your cursor over this sharp projection (or follow this link) of image data from the Hubble Space Telescope.
Starburst Galaxy Messier 94
Beautiful island universe Messier 94 lies a mere 15 million light-years distant in the northern constellation of the hunting dogs, Canes Venatici. A popular target for earth-based astronomers, the face-on spiral galaxy is about 30,000 light-years across, with spiral arms sweeping through the outskirts of its broad disk.
Star Factory Messier 17
Sculpted by stellar winds and radiation, the star factory known as Messier 17 lies some 5,500 light-years away in the nebula-rich constellation Sagittarius. At that distance, this 1/3 degree wide field of view spans over 30 light-years.
The Fractured North Pole of Saturns Enceladus
The north pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus is unexpectedly fascinating and complex. Previous to the latest flyby of the robotic Cassini spacecraft, the northern region was known mostly for its unusually high abundance of craters.