Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Saturns Moon Pan from Cassini
Why does Saturn's moon Pan look so odd? Images taken last week from the robotic Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn have resolved the moon in unprecedented detail. The surprising images reveal a moon that looks something like a walnut with a slab through its middle.
At the Heart of Orion
Near the center of this sharp cosmic portrait, at the heart of the Orion Nebula, are four hot, massive stars known as the Trapezium. Tightly gathered within a region about 1.5 light-years in radius, they dominate the core of the dense Orion Nebula Star Cluster.
Reflections on vdB 31
Riding high in the constellation of Auriga, beautiful, blue vdB 31 is the 31st object in Sidney van den Bergh's 1966 catalog of reflection nebulae. It shares this well-composed celestial still life with dark, obscuring clouds recorded in Edward E. Barnard's 1919 catalog of dark markings in the sky.
Galaxy Cluster Abell 2666
The galaxies of Abell 2666 lie far beyond the Milky Way, some 340 million light-years distant toward the high flying constellation Pegasus. Framed in this sharp telescopic image, the pretty cluster galaxies are gathered behind scattered, spiky, Milky Way stars.
Only 11 million light-years away, Centaurus A is the closest active galaxy to planet Earth. Spanning over 60,000 light-years, the peculiar elliptical galaxy also known as NGC 5128, is featured in this sharp telescopic view.
Dust, Gas, and Stars in the Orion Nebula
The Great Nebula in Orion, an immense, nearby starbirth region, is probably the most famous of all astronomical nebulas. Here, filaments of dark dust and glowing gas surround hot young stars at the edge of an immense interstellar molecular cloud only 1500 light-years away.
UGC 12591: The Fastest Rotating Galaxy Known
Why does this galaxy spin so fast? To start, even identifying which type of galaxy UGC 12591 is difficult -- it has dark dust lanes like a spiral galaxy but a large diffuse bulge of stars like a lenticular.
Colorful Aurora over Iceland
You don't always see a scene this beautiful when you hike to an ancient volcano -- you have to be lucky. When the astrophotographer realized that aurora were visible two-weeks ago, he made a night-time run for the top of the caldera to see if he could capture them also reflected in the central lake.
The Mysterious Rings of Supernova 1987A
What's causing those odd rings in supernova 1987A? Thirty years ago, in 1987, the brightest supernova in recent history was seen in the Large Magellanic Cloud. At the center of the featured picture is an object central to the remains of the violent stellar explosion.
Still Life with Reflecting Dust
In this beautiful celestial still life composed with a cosmic brush, dusty nebula NGC 2170 shines at the upper left. Reflecting the light of nearby hot stars, NGC 2170 is joined by other bluish reflection nebulae, a compact red emission region, and streamers of obscuring dust against a backdrop of stars.