Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)M106 Close Up
Close to the Great Bear (Ursa Major) and surrounded by the stars of the Hunting Dogs (Canes Venatici), this celestial wonder was discovered in 1781 by the metric French astronomer Pierre Mechain. Later, it was added to the catalog of his friend and colleague Charles Messier as M106.
All the Colors of the Sun
It is still not known why the Sun's light is missing some colors. Here are all the visible colors of the Sun, produced by passing the Sun's light through a prism-like device.
Filaments of the Vela Supernova Remnant
The explosion is over but the consequences continue. About eleven thousand years ago a star in the constellation of Vela could be seen to explode, creating a strange point of light briefly visible to humans living near the beginning of recorded history.
Mysterious Green Patches on the Sky
What is it? Some surely natural phenomenon has appeared in a video that, so far, has defied clear identification. The above time-lapse video was made to record Perseid meteors above Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick, Canada late this summer.
The Fairy of Eagle Nebula
The dust sculptures of the Eagle Nebula are evaporating. As powerful starlight whittles away these cool cosmic mountains, the statuesque pillars that remain might be imagined as mythical beasts. Pictured above is one of several striking dust pillars of the Eagle Nebula that might be described as a gigantic alien fairy.
From a geostationary orbit 36,000 kilometers above the equator, Russian meteorological satellite Elektro-L takes high-resolution images our fair planet every 30 minutes. But only twice a year, during an Equinox, can it capture an image like this one, showing an entire hemisphere bathed in sunlight.
Andromeda on the Rocks
How far can you see? The Andromeda Galaxy 2.5 million light years away is the most distant object easily seen by the unaided eye. Other apparent denizens of the night sky, stars, clusters...
M31 versus M33
Separated by about 14 degrees (28 Full Moons) in planet Earth's sky, spiral galaxies M31 ,left, and M33 are both large members of the Local Group, along with our own Milky Way galaxy.
M81 versus M82
Here in the Milky Way galaxy we have astronomical front row seats as M81 and M82 face-off, a mere 12 million light-years away. Locked in a gravitational struggle for the past billion years or so, the two bright galaxies are captured in this deep telescopic snapshot, constructed from 25 hours of image data.
The Local Fluff
The stars are not alone. In the disk of our Milky Way Galaxy about 10 percent of visible matter is in the form of gas, called the interstellar medium (ISM). The ISM is not uniform, and shows patchiness even near our Sun.