Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Island Universe, Cosmic Sand
On August 13, 2002, while counting Perseid meteors under dark, early morning Arizona skies, Rick Scott set out to photograph their fleeting but fiery trails. The equipment he used included a telephoto lens and fast color film. After 21 pictures he'd caught only two meteors, but luckily this was one of them.
Moons and Bright Mars
In this serene view, the moons of Earth along with the bright planet Mars shine above the city of Turku near the southwestern tip of Finland. Of course Earth's large natural satellite, the Moon, at a distance of 400,000 kilometers, is by far the brightest object in this sky.
Galaxy Group HCG 87
Posing for this cosmic family photo are the galaxies of HCG (Hickson Compact Group) 87, about four hundred million light-years distant toward the amphibious constellation Capricornus. The large edge-on spiral near picture center...
Frosty Mountains on Mars
What causes the unusual white color on some Martian mountains? The answer can be guessed by noticing that the bright areas disappear as springtime takes hold in the south of Mars: dry ice. Unlike water ice, dry carbon dioxide ice sublimates directly to gas from its frozen state.
Orange Sun Simmering
Even a quiet Sun is a busy place. The above image, taken in a single color of light called Hydrogen Alpha, records a great amount of detail of the simmering surface of our parent star.
Launch of the Spirit Rover Toward Mars
Next stop: Mars. Last month the first of two missions to Mars was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA above a Boeing Delta II rocket. Pictured above, solid fuel boosters are seen falling away as light from residual exhaust is reflected by the soaring rocket.
The Aquarius Dwarf
Our Milky Way Galaxy is not alone. It is part of a gathering of about 50 galaxies known as the Local Group. Members include the Great Andromeda Galaxy (M31), M32, M33, the Large Magellanic Cloud, the Small Magellanic Cloud, Dwingeloo 1, several small irregular galaxies, and many dwarf elliptical and dwarf spheroidal galaxies.
Spiral Galaxy NGC 7742
This might resemble a fried egg you've had for breakfast, but it's actually much larger. In fact, ringed by blue-tinted star forming regions and faintly visible spiral arms, the yolk-yellow center of this face-on spiral galaxy, NGC 7742, is about 3,000 light-years across.
Dumbbell Nebula Halo
In 1764, French astronomer Charles Messier sighted this gorgeous cosmic cloud which he described as an oval nebula without stars. Cataloged as M27, it is now popularly known as the Dumbbell Nebula...
Mars at the Moon s Edge
What was that bright "star" near the Moon last week? Mars of course, as the Red Planet wandered near the wanning gibbous Moon early last Thursday morning, passing behind the lunar orb when viewed from some locations in South and Central America, the Carribean, and Florida.