Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Aurora Over Norway
Auroras can make spectacular sights. Photographed above last weekend, flowing multi-colored auroras helped illuminate a busy sky above TromsЬ, Norway. Besides the spectacular aurora pictured above, the photographer caught three satellites streaks, one airplane streak, and a friend trying to capture the same sight.
Dark Clouds of the Carina Nebula
What dark forms lurk in the mists of the Carina Nebula? These ominous figures are actually molecular clouds, knots of molecular gas and dust so thick they have become opaque. In comparison, however, these clouds are typically much less dense than Earth's atmosphere.
Opposite the Sun
Chances are the brightest star you've seen lately is actually planet Jupiter. Jupiter rules the sky in this labeled view of a starry September night from the Alborz mountains in Iran, complete with the trail of a red flashlight illuminating the mountain road.
Northern Lights over Prelude Lake
Curtains of shimmering green light sprawl across this gorgeous night skyscape. In the foreground lies the peaceful Prelude Lake, located about 30 kilometers east of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. From high northern latitudes these mesmerizing northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, are becoming a more familiar sight.
The Veil Nebula
Delicate in appearance, these filaments of shocked, glowing gas, draped in planet Earth's sky toward the constellation of Cygnus, make up the Veil Nebula. The nebula is a large supernova remnant, an expanding cloud born of the death explosion of a massive star.
Clouds, Birds, Moon, Venus
Sometimes the sky above can become quite a show. Last week, for example, the Moon and Venus converged, creating quite a sight by itself for sky enthusiasts around the globe. From some locations, though, the sky was even more picturesque.
An Extraordinary Spiral from LL Pegasi
What created the strange spiral structure on the left? No one is sure, although it is likely related to a star in a binary star system entering the planetary nebula phase, when its outer atmosphere is ejected.
Zodiacal Light Over Namibia
An unusual triangle of light is visible this time of year just before dawn, in the northern hemisphere. Once considered a false dawn, this triangle of light is actually zodiacal light, light reflected from interplanetary dust particles.
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 fissile uranium has now decayed below that needed for a sustainable reaction.
Star Streams and the Sunflower Galaxy
A bright spiral galaxy of the northern sky, Messier 63 is about 25 million light-years distant in the loyal constellation Canes Venatici. Also cataloged as NGC 5055, the majestic island universe is nearly 100,000 light-years across, about the size of our own Milky Way.