Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)A Halo for NGC 6164
Beautiful emission nebula NGC 6164 was created by a rare, hot, luminous O-type star, some 40 times as massive as the Sun. Seen at the center of the cosmic cloud, the star is a mere 3 to 4 million years old.
A Spring Sky Over Hirsau Abbey
What's in the sky tonight? When strolling outside just after sunset, even if just going out to your car, a casual glance upwards can reveal a beautiful night sky also seen by many people across the Earth.
Titan Beyond the Rings
When orbiting Saturn, be sure to watch for breathtaking superpositions of moons and rings. One such picturesque vista was visible recently to the robot Cassini spacecraft now orbiting Saturn. In 2006 April, Cassini captured Saturn's A and F rings stretching in front of cloud-shrouded Titan.
Rembrandt Impact Basin on Mercury
Why do portions of this huge crater on Mercury have so much iron? The unusual Rembrandt impact basin was discovered recently in images taken during the robotic MESSENGER spacecraft's 2008 October flyby of the Solar System's innermost planet.
The Eskimo Nebula from Hubble
In 1787, astronomer William Herschel discovered the Eskimo Nebula. From the ground, NGC 2392 resembles a person's head surrounded by a parka hood. In 2000, the Hubble Space Telescope imaged the Eskimo Nebula. From space, the nebula displays gas clouds so complex they are not fully understood.
The Whale Galaxy
NGC 4631 is a big beautiful spiral galaxy. Seen edge-on, it lies only 25 million light-years away in the well-trained northern constellation Canes Venatici. The galaxy's slightly distorted wedge shape suggests to some a cosmic herring and to others its popular moniker, The Whale Galaxy.
Lyrid Meteor and Milky Way
On April 22nd, the Lyrid Meteor Shower visited planet Earth's sky, an annual shower produced as the Earth plows through dust from the tail of comet Thatcher. Usually Lyrid meteor watchers see only a drizzle.
Framed by Clouds
Last Sunday's fading evening twilight featured a young crescent Moon along the western horizon. The young Moon also shared the sky with the lovely Pleiades star cluster and wandering planet Mercury. Framed by clouds in this serene skyscape from Selsey, UK, a similar twilight scene was visible around the globe.
GRB 090423: The Farthest Explosion Yet Measured
An explosion so powerful it was seen clear across the visible universe was recorded in gamma-radiation last week by NASA's orbiting Swift Observatory. Farther than any known galaxy, quasar, or optical supernova, the gamma-ray burst recorded last week was clocked at redshift 8.2, making it the farthest explosion of any type yet detected.
NGC 4565: Galaxy on the Edge
Is our Galaxy this thin? We believe so. Magnificent spiral galaxy NGC 4565 is likely similar to our own spiral galaxy, but viewed edge-on from far away. Also known as the Needle Galaxy...