Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Open Cluster NGC 290: A Stellar Jewel Box
Jewels don't shine this bright -- only stars do. Like gems in a jewel box, though, the stars of open cluster NGC 290 glitter in a beautiful display of brightness and color. The photogenic cluster, pictured above, was captured recently by the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope.
Of course, everyone is concerned about what to wear to a solar eclipse. No need to worry though, nature often conspires to project images of the eclipse so that stylish and appropriate patterns adorn many visible surfaces - including clothing - at just the right time.
The Moon's measured diameter is around 3,476 kilometers (2,160 miles). But apparent angular size, or the angle covered by an object, can also be important to Moon enthusiasts. Angular size depends on distance, the farther away an object is, the smaller an angle it covers.
Galaxies on a String
Galaxies NGC 5216 (top right) and NGC 5218 really do look like they are connected by a string. Of course, that string is a cosmic trail of gas, dust, and stars about 22,000 light-years long.
The International Space Station Transits the Sun
That's no sunspot. It's the International Space Station (ISS) caught by chance passing in front of the Sun. Sunspots, individually, have a dark central umbra, a lighter surrounding penumbra, and no solar panels.
The Milky Way Over Ontario
Sometimes, after your eyes adapt to the dark, a spectacular sky appears. Such was the case earlier this month over Ontario, Canada, when part of a spectacular sky also became visible in a reflection off a lake.
SDSSJ1430: A Galaxy Einstein Ring
What's large and blue and can wrap itself around an entire galaxy? A gravitational lens mirage. Pictured above on the left, the gravity of a normal white galaxy has gravitationally distorted the light from a much more distant blue galaxy.
IC 4406: A Seemingly Square Nebula
How can a round star make a square nebula? This conundrum comes to light when studying planetary nebulae like IC 4406. Evidence indicates that IC 4406 is likely a hollow cylinder, with its square appearance the result of our vantage point in viewing the cylinder from the side.
Central IC 1805
Cosmic clouds seem to form fantastic shapes in the central regions of emission nebula IC 1805. Of course, the clouds are sculpted by stellar winds and radiation from massive hot stars in the nebula's newborn star cluster (aka Melotte 15).
Spitzer s M101
Big, beautiful spiral galaxy M101 is one of the last entries in Charles Messier's famous catalog, but definitely not one of the least. About 170,000 light-years across, this galaxy is enormous, almost twice the size of our own Milky Way Galaxy.