Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)A Rorschach Aurora
If you see this as a monster's face, don't panic. It's only pareidolia, often experienced as the tendency to see faces in patterns of light and shadow. In fact, the startling visual scene is actually a 180 degree panorama of Northern Lights, digitally mirrored like inkblots on a folded piece of paper.
Haunting the Cepheus Flare
Spooky shapes seem to haunt this dusty expanse, drifting through the night in the royal constellation Cepheus. Of course, the shapes are cosmic dust clouds visible in dimly reflected starlight. Far from your...
Mirach s Ghost
As far as ghosts go, Mirach's Ghost isn't really that scary. Mirach's Ghost is just a faint, fuzzy galaxy, well known to astronomers, that happens to be seen nearly along the line-of-sight to Mirach, a bright star. Centered in this star field, Mirach is also called Beta Andromedae.
NGC 6995: The Bat Nebula
Do you see the bat? It haunts this cosmic close-up of the eastern Veil Nebula. The Veil Nebula itself is a large supernova remnant, the expanding debris cloud from the death explosion of a massive star.
Observe the graceful twirl of our Solar System's largest planet. Many interesting features of Jupiter's enigmatic atmosphere, including dark belts and light zones, can be followed in detail. A careful inspection will reveal that different cloud layers rotate at slightly different speeds.
Road to the Galactic Center
Does the road to our galaxy's center go through Monument Valley? It doesn't have to, but if your road does -- take a picture. In this case, the road is US Route 163 and iconic buttes on the Navajo National Reservation populate the horizon.
Halloween and the Ghost Head Nebula
Halloween's origin is ancient and astronomical. Since the fifth century BC, Halloween has been celebrated as a cross-quarter day, a day halfway between an equinox (equal day / equal night) and a solstice (minimum day / maximum night in the northern hemisphere).
Put on your red/blue glasses and float next to asteroid 101955 Bennu. Shaped like a spinning toy top with boulders littering its rough surface, the tiny Solar System world is about one Empire State Building (less than 500 meters) across.
A Comet and a Crab
This pretty field of view spans over 2 degrees or 4 full moons on the sky, filled with stars toward the constellation Taurus, the Bull. Above and right of center in the frame you can spot the faint fuzzy reddish appearance of Messier 1 (M1), also known as the Crab Nebula.
Sharpless 308: The Dolphin-Head Nebula
Blown by fast winds from a hot, massive star, this cosmic bubble is huge. Cataloged as Sharpless 2-308 it lies some 5,000 light-years away toward the constellation of the Big Dog (Canis Major) and covers slightly more of the sky than a Full Moon.