Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Traces of the Sun
This year the December Solstice is today, December 21, at 10:44 UT, the first day of winter in the north and summer in the south. To celebrate, watch this amazing timelapse video tracing the Sun's apparent movement over an entire year from Hungary.
Sharpless 308: Star Bubble
Blown by fast winds from a hot, massive star, this cosmic bubble is huge. Cataloged as Sharpless 2-308 it lies some 5,200 light-years away toward the constellation of the Big Dog (Canis Major) and covers slightly more of the sky than a full moon.
Supermoon over Spanish Castle
No, this castle was not built with the Moon attached. To create the spectacular juxtaposition, careful planning and a bit of good weather was needed. Pictured, the last supermoon of 2016 was captured last week rising directly beyond one of the towers of Bellver Castle in Palma de Mallorca on the Balearic Islands of Spain.
The Cartwheel Galaxy from Hubble
To some, it looks like the wheel of a cart. In fact, because of its outward oval appearance, the presence of a central galaxy, and their connection with what looks like the spokes of a wheel, the galaxy on the right is known as the Cartwheel Galaxy.
Southern Jupiter from Perijove 3
Southern Jupiter looms some 37,000 kilometers away in this JunoCam image from December 11. The image data was captured near Juno's third perijove or closest approach to Jupiter, the spacecraft still in its 53 day long looping orbit.
Meteors vs Supermoon
Geminid meteors battled supermoonlight in planet Earth's night skies on December 13/14. Traveling at 35 kilometers (22 miles) per second, the bits of dust from the mysterious asteroid 3200 Phaethon that produce the meteor streaks are faster than a speeding bullet.
Seagull to Sirius
This broad, beautiful mosaic spans almost 20 degrees across planet Earth's sky. The nebula-rich region lies near the edge of the Orion-Eridanus supperbubble, filled with looping, expanding shells of gas and dust embedded in molecular clouds near the plane of the Milky Way Galaxy.
The Lagoon Nebula in High Definition
Stars are battling gas and dust in the Lagoon Nebula but the photographers are winning. Also known as M8, this photogenic nebula is visible even without binoculars towards the constellation of Sagittarius. The energetic processes of star formation create not only the colors but the chaos.
Meteors over Four Girl Mountains
On some nights it rains meteors. Peaking over the next two nights, asteroid dust is expected to rain down on Earth during the annual Geminids meteor shower. This year, unfortunately, fainter Geminids will be harder to see because of the brightness of the Long Nights Full Moon, which occurs Wednesday.
Over Saturns Turbulent North Pole
The Cassini spacecraft's Grand Finale at Saturn has begun. The Grand Finale will allow Cassini to explore Saturn and some of Saturn's moons and rings in unprecedented detail. The first phase started...