Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)M57: The Ring Nebula
It looked like a ring on the sky. Hundreds of years ago astronomers noticed a nebula with a most unusual shape. Now known as M57 or NGC 6720, the gas cloud became popularly known as the Ring Nebula.
Standing on the Moon
Humans once walked on the Moon. Pictured above is the second person to stand on the lunar surface: Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin. During this Apollo 11 mission, Neil Armstrong (the first person to walk on the moon) and Buzz Aldrin landed on the Moon while Michael Collins circled in the Command Module above.
The Frothy Milky Way
Astronomers have discovered that looking at dust along the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy is a bit like looking into a frothy glass of beer. The dust between stars in our galaxy appears...
Venus: Just Passing By
Venus, the second closest planet to the Sun, is a popular way-point for spacecraft headed for the gas giant planets in the outer reaches of the solar system. Why visit Venus first? Using...
Mars: Big Crater in Stereo
Get out your red/blue glasses and check out this stereo picture of "Big Crater" on Mars! (Pieces of red and blue or green clear plastic will do. Your right eye should look through...
Tornadoes on the Sun
Giant spinning clouds of gas, similar to Earth's tornadoes, have been found on the Sun. Solar tornadoes, however, can be larger than the entire Earth, and sustain wind gusts over 1000 times stronger than their Earth counterparts.
A Rare Double Conjunction Eclipse
The crescent Moon, Venus, and Jupiter all appeared together in the early morning hours of April 23rd. Some locations on Earth were able to witness a rare double conjunction eclipse, where the Moon occulted both Jupiter and Venus at the same time.
IC 4406: A Seemingly Square Nebula
How can a round star make a square nebula? This conundrum came to light with the discovery of planetary nebulae like IC 4406. IC 4406 is most probably cylindrical, with its square appearance the result of our vantage point in viewing the cylinder.
NGC 2440: Cocoon of a New White Dwarf
Like a butterfly, a white dwarf star begins its life by casting off a cocoon that enclosed its former self. In this analogy, however, the Sun would be a caterpillar and the ejected shell of gas would become the prettiest of all!
Supernova Remnant and Neutron Star
A massive star ends life as a supernova, blasting its outer layers back to interstellar space. The spectacular death explosion is initiated by the collapse of what has become an impossibly dense stellar core. However, this core is not necessarily destroyed.