Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Sunspot 875 Flares
An unusually active sunspot region is now crossing the Sun. The region, numbered 875, is larger than the Earth and has produced several solar flares over the past week. It should take a few more days for Sunspot 875 to finish crossing the solar disk.
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.
1006 AD: Supernova in the Sky
A new star, likely the brightest supernova in recorded human history, appeared in planet Earth's sky about 1,000 years ago today, in 1006 AD. The expanding debris cloud from the stellar explosion is still visible to modern astronomers, but what did the supernova look like in 1006?
Skylab Over Earth
Skylab was an orbiting laboratory launched by a in May 1973. Skylab, pictured above, was visited three times by NASA astronauts who sometimes stayed as long as two and a half months. Many scientific tests were performed on Skylab, including astronomical observations in ultraviolet and X-ray light.
NGC 7635: Bubble in a Cosmic Sea
Seemingly adrift in a cosmic sea of stars and glowing gas, the delicate, floating apparition near the center (next to a blue tinted star) of this widefield view is cataloged as NGC 7635 - The Bubble Nebula.
NGC 4696: Energy from a Black Hole
In many cosmic environments, when material falls toward a black hole energy is produced as some of the matter is blasted back out in jets. In fact, such black hole "engines" appear to be the most efficient in the Universe, at least on a galactic scale.
Crumbling Comet Schwassmann Wachmann 3 Approaches
A crumbling comet will soon pass near the Earth. Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 is brightening and may even be visible to the unaided eye when the fragmented comet zooms past Earth during the middle of next month.
M82: Galaxy with a Supergalactic Wind
What's lighting up the Cigar Galaxy? M82, as this irregular galaxy is also known, was stirred up by a recent pass near large spiral galaxy M81. This doesn't fully explain the source of the red-glowing outwardly expanding gas, however.
Star Clouds over Arizona
The clouds in the foreground are much different than the clouds in the background. In the foreground are a photogenic deck of Earth-based water clouds. The long exposure used to create the above photograph makes the light from the left, reflected from Phoenix, Arizona, USA, appear like a sunset.
The Solar Spectrum
It is still not known why the Sun's light is missing some colors. Shown above are all the visible colors of the Sun, produced by passing the Sun's light through a prism-like device.