Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)M31: The Andromeda Galaxy
Andromeda is the nearest major galaxy to our own Milky Way Galaxy. Our Galaxy is thought to look much like Andromeda. Together these two galaxies dominate the Local Group of galaxies. The diffuse light from Andromeda is caused by the hundreds of billions of stars that compose it.
The Space Shuttle Docked with Mir
Before there was the International Space Station, the reigning orbiting spaceport was Russia's Mir. Pictured above in 1995, the United States Space Shuttle Atlantis docked with the segmented Mir. During shuttle mission STS-71, astronauts answered questions from school students over amateur radio and performed science experiments aboard Spacelab.
Io s Surface: Under Construction
Like the downtown area of your favorite city, the roads you drive to work on, and any self-respecting web site ... Io's surface is constantly under construction. This moon of Jupiter holds the distinction of being the Solar System's most volcanically active body -- its bizarre looking surface continuously formed and reformed by lava flows.
At the Center of the Milk Way
At the center of our Milky Way Galaxy lies a black hole with over 2 million times the mass of the Sun. Once a controversial claim, this astounding conclusion is now virtually inescapable and based on observations of stars orbiting very near the galactic center.
Centaurus A: Young Blue Star Stream
Almost lost in this cosmic jumble of stars, gas and dust is a faint but definite blue arc -- a stream of young stars whose formation was probably triggered as a small dwarf galaxy was torn apart approaching the giant elliptical galaxy Centaurus A.
Oklo: Ancient African Nuclear Reactors
The remnants of nuclear reactors nearly two billion years old were found in the 1970s in Africa. These reactors are thought to have occurred naturally. No natural reactors exist today, as the relative density of fissionable uranium has now decayed below that needed for a sustainable reaction.
Aurora s Ring
Gusting solar winds and blasts of charged particles from the Sun made the early days of October rewarding ones for those anticipating aurora. While out enjoying the stormy space weather from Toemmeraas, Norway, Trygve Lindersen recorded this picturesque apparition of the northern lights with a digital camera on October 6.
IC 5146: The Cocoon Nebula
How did this nebula get created? The Cocoon Nebula, cataloged as IC 5146, is a strikingly beautiful nebula located about 4,000 light years away toward the constellation of Cygnus. Inside the Cocoon is a newly developing open cluster of stars.
CG4: A Ruptured Cometary Globule
The odd looking "creature" to the right of center in the above photo is a gas cloud known as a cometary globule. This globule, however, has ruptured. Cometary globules are typically characterized by dusty heads and elongated tails.
Chandra Deep Field
Officially the Chandra Deep Field - South, this picture represents the deepest ever x-ray image of the Universe. One million seconds of accumulated exposure time with the orbiting Chandra X-ray Observatory went in to its making.