Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)The Magnificent Horsehead Nebula
Sculpted by stellar winds and radiation, a magnificent interstellar dust cloud by chance has assumed this recognizable shape. Fittingly named the Horsehead Nebula, it is some 1,500 light-years distant, embedded in the vast Orion cloud complex.
M72: A Globular Cluster of Stars
Globular clusters once ruled the Milky Way. Back in the old days, back when our Galaxy first formed, perhaps thousands of globular clusters roamed our Galaxy. Today, there are less than 200 left. Many globular clusters were destroyed over the eons by repeated fateful encounters with each other or the Galactic center.
Herschel Crater on Mimas of Saturn
Why is this giant crater on Mimas oddly colored? Mimas, one of the smaller round moons of Saturn, sports Herschel crater, one of the larger impact craters in the entire Solar System. The robotic...
Large Eruptive Prominence Imaged by SDO
Sometimes part of the Sun can just explode into space. These explosions might occur as powerful solar flares, coronal mass ejections, or comparatively tame eruptive solar prominences. Pictured above is one of the largest solar prominence eruptions yet observed, one associated with a subsequent coronal mass ejection.
Halo of the Cats Eye
The Cat's Eye Nebula (NGC 6543) is one of the best known planetary nebulae in the sky. Its haunting symmetries are seen in the very central region of this stunning false-color picture, processed...
Atlantis Lift Off
Atlantis has lifted off, but not from launch pad 39A. Instead, this sharp, wide-angle photo taken on April 13, shows the space shuttle orbiter lifted off the floor of Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building. Shortly afterwards, Atlantis was attached to an external fuel tank and solid rocket boosters prior to roll out.
Some 60 million light-years away in the southerly constellation Corvus, two large galaxies collided. But the stars in the two galaxies cataloged as NGC 4038 and NGC 4039 don't collide in the course of the ponderous, billion year or so long event.
Northern and Southern Owls
Captured in colorful telescopic portraits, two cosmic owls glare back toward planet Earth in this intriguing comparison of planetary nebulae. On the left is M97 in the constellation Ursa Major, also known in the northern hemisphere as the Owl Nebula.
The Faces of Mars
Enthusiastic astro-artists ranging from expert to beginner, the youngest age 10, all contributed their work to this entertaining panel featuring different faces of Mars. Their sketches are all based on telescopic views of the Red Planet from earlier this year, near its 2010 opposition.
A Hall of Mountain Glory
If you tried to enter this hall of fog, you would find it dissipates around you. The hall is actually an the mountain from which this picture was taken. Known as "the glory", the phenomenon is frequently seen from airplanes.