Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)The Spectrum of A Meteor
Chasing the brief flash of a meteor trail across the sky with a very large telescope is a nearly impossible task. But on May 12, 2002, astronomers got lucky, as a bright meteor chanced across the narrow slit of their spectrograph at the Paranal Observatory.
A Perseid Meteor
The ongoing Perseid Meteor Shower should be at its strongest tonight and tomorrow night. Although meteors should be visible all night long, the best time to watch will be between 2:00 AM and dawn each night. In dark, moonless, predawn skies you may see dozens of meteors per hour.
The Double Haze above Titan
Most moons have no haze layer at all - why does Titan have two? Images from the Cassini spacecraft that slipped into orbit around Saturn last month confirm that the Solar System's most mysterious moon is surrounded not only by a thick atmosphere but also by two distinct spheres of haze.
The Dark River to Antares
Connecting the Pipe Nebula to the bright star Antares is a flowing dark cloud nicknamed the Dark River. The murkiness of the Dark River is caused by absorption of background starlight by dust, although the nebula contains mostly hydrogen and molecular gas.
Contemplating the Sky
Have you contemplated your sky recently? This week will be a good one for midnight meditators at many northerly locations as meteors from the Perseid meteor shower will frequently streaked through. The Perseid meteor shower has slowly been building to a crescendo and should peak on the nights of August 11 and 12.
Giant Cluster Bends, Breaks Images
What are those strange blue objects? Many are images of a single, unusual, beaded, blue, ring-like galaxy which just happens to line-up behind a giant cluster of galaxies. Cluster galaxies here appear yellow and -- together with the cluster's dark matter -- act as a gravitational lens.
The Giant and the Glory
On a flight from Vienna to Brussels, astronomer Franz Kerschbaum looked out the window and photographed this beautiful atmospheric phenomenon, the glory, shining in the direction directly opposite the Sun. Before airplanes, the glory, known to some as the heiligenschein or the Specter of the Brocken, was occasionally seen from mountaintops.
Emission Nebula IC 1396
Sprawling across hundreds of light-years, emission nebula IC 1396 mixes glowing cosmic gas and dark dust clouds. Stars are forming in this area, only about 3,000 light-years from Earth. This particularly colorful view of the region is a composite of digital images recorded through narrow band filters.
Solar Arcs and Halos
Have you ever seen a bright halo around the Sun? Unusual halos and arcs were so bright one recent afternoon in Trier, Germany that even casual people on the street noticed them. The fantastic...
Shadow of a Martian Robot
What if you saw your shadow on Mars and it wasn't human? Then you might be the Opportunity rover currently exploring Mars. Opportunity and sister robot Spirit have been probing the red planet since January, finding evidence of ancient water, and sending breathtaking images across the inner Solar System.