Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Curious Cometary Knots in the Helix Nebula
What causes unusual knots of gas and dust in planetary nebulas? Seen also in the Ring Nebula, the Dumbbell Nebula and the Eskimo Nebula, the knots' existence was not initially predicted and their origins are still not well understood.
Yuri s Planet
On April 12th, 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Alexseyevich Gagarin became the first human in space. His remotely controlled Vostok 1 spacecraft lofted him to an altitude of 200 miles and carried him once around planet Earth. Commenting on the first view from space he reported, "The sky is very dark; the Earth is bluish.
At first he couldn t see the Moon
At first, he couldn't see it, but searching with binoculars along a cloudy western horizon near sunset, photographer Laurent Laveder finally spotted a delicate lunar crescent. Captured in this dramatic picture on April 6th from Bretagne, France, the Moon was only 15 hours and 38 minutes old.
Stickney Crater, the largest crater on the martian moon Phobos, is named for Chloe Angeline Stickney Hall, mathematician and wife of astronomer Asaph Hall. Asaph Hall discovered both the Red Planet's moons in 1877.
A Large Magellanic Cloud Deep Field
Is this a spiral galaxy? No. Actually, it is the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), the largest satellite galaxy of our own Milky Way Galaxy. The LMC is classified as a dwarf irregular galaxy because of its normally chaotic appearance. In this deep and wide exposure, however, the full extent of the LMC becomes visible.
Southern Orion: From Belt to Witch
Do you recognize the belt of Orion in this image? The familiar trio of stars, visible to the unaided eye, can be found across the upper left. Otherwise, the southern part of the constellation...
Mysterious White Rock Fingers on Mars
What caused this unusual white rock formation on Mars? Intrigued by the possibility that they could be salt deposits left over as an ancient lakebed dried-up, detailed studies of these fingers now indicate that this is not correct.
Wisps Surrounding the Horsehead Nebula
The famous Horsehead Nebula in Orion is not alone. A deep exposure shows that the dark familiar shaped indentation, visible just below center, is part of a vast complex of absorbing dust and glowing gas.
Jules Verne in Orbit
The bright edge of planet Earth fades into the darkness of space in the background of this view of Jules Verne on an extraordinary voyage. Snapped last Monday, the picture shows the European Space...
Layers in Aureum Chaos
At first glance these undulating shapes in shades of blue might look like waves on an ocean. Seen here in a false-color image from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's HiRISE camera, they are actually layered rock outcrops found in Aureum Chaos.