Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)JWST on the Road to L2
This timelapse gif tracks the James Webb Space Telescope as it streaks across the stars of Orion on its journey to a destination beyond the Moon. Recorded on December 28, 12 consecutive exposures each 10 minutes long were aligned and combined with a subsequent color image of the background stars to create the animation.
The Further Tail of Comet Leonard
Comet Leonard, brightest comet of 2021, is at the lower left of these two panels captured on December 29 in dark Atacama desert skies. Heading for its perihelion on January 3 Comet Leonard's visible tail has grown.
Giant Storms and High Clouds on Jupiter
What and where are these large ovals? They are rotating storm clouds on Jupiter imaged last month by NASA's Juno spacecraft. In general, higher clouds are lighter in color, and the lightest clouds visible are the relatively small clouds that dot the lower oval.
Sun Halo over Sweden
What's happened to the Sun? Sometimes it looks like the Sun is being viewed through a giant lens. In the featured video, however, there are actually millions of tiny lenses: ice crystals. Water may freeze in the atmosphere into small, flat, six-sided, ice crystals.
Comet Leonard behind JWST Launch Plume
Which one of these two streaks is a comet? Although they both have comet-like features, the lower streak is the only real comet. This lower streak shows the coma and tail of Comet Leonard...
James Webb Space Telescope over Earth
There's a big new telescope in space. This one, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), not only has a mirror over five times larger than Hubble's in area, but can see better in infrared light.
The Tail of a Christmas Comet
The tail of a comet streams across this three degree wide telescopic field of view captured under dark Namibian skies on December 21. In outburst only a few days ago and just reaching naked eye visibility Comet Leonard (C/2021 A1) is this year's brightest comet.
M1: The Crab Nebula
The Crab Nebula is cataloged as M1, the first object on Charles Messier's famous 18th century list of things which are not comets. In fact, the Crab is now known to be a supernova remnant, debris from the death explosion of a massive star, witnessed by astronomers in the year 1054.
Three Planets and a Comet
Are you still looking for that perfect holiday gift for an astronomer? If your night sky is dark and horizon clear enough, the Solar System may have done your shopping for you. Send them outside after sunset to see three planets and a comet.
Launch of the IXPE Observatory
Birds don't fly this high. Airplanes don't go this fast. The Statue of Liberty weighs less. No species other than human can even comprehend what is going on, nor could any human just a millennium ago. The launch of a rocket bound for space is an event that inspires awe and challenges description.