Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)The Dark River to Antares
Connecting the Pipe Nebula to the bright star Antares is a flowing dark cloud nicknamed the Dark River. The murkiness of the Dark River is caused by absorption of background starlight by dust, although the nebula contains mostly hydrogen and molecular gas.
Unusual Light Patch Under Phoenix Lander on Mars
Is that ice under the Phoenix spacecraft on Mars? Quite possibly. Phoenix, which landed a week ago, was expected to dig under the Martian soil to search for ice, but the lander's breaking jets may already have uncovered some during descent.
A Twisted Solar Eruptive Prominence
Ten Earths could easily fit in the "claw" of this seemingly solar monster. The monster, though, visible on the lower left, is a huge eruptive prominence seen moving out from our Sun. The above dramatic image taken early in the year 2000 by the Sun-orbiting SOHO satellite.
A View to the Sunset
Each day on planet Earth can have a dramatic ending as the Sun sets below the colorful western horizon. Often inspiring, or offering a moment for contemplation, a sunset is perhaps the single most photographed celestial event. Did you recognize this as a picture of one?
Descent of the Phoenix
In this sweeping view, the 10 kilometer-wide crater Heimdall lies on the north polar plains of Mars. But the bright spot highlighted in the inset is the Phoenix lander parachuting toward the surface. The amazing picture was captured on May 25th by the HiRISE camera onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
A Fog Bow Over Ocean Beach
What is that white arch over the water? What is being seen is a fogbow, a reflection of sunlight by water drops similar to a rainbow but without the colors. The fog itself is not confined to an arch -- the fog is mostly transparent but relatively uniform.
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.
Phoenix at Mars
The Phoenix lander's footpads are about the size of a dinner plate. One of three is shown at the right, covered with Martian soil after a successful soft landing on the Red Planet on May 25.
A New Horizon for Phoenix
This flat horizon stretches across the red planet as seen by the Phoenix spacecraft after yesterday's landing on Mars. Touching down shortly after 7:30pm Eastern Time, Phoenix made the first successful soft landing on Mars, using rockets to control its final speed, since the Viking landers in 1976.
Phoenix Lander Arrives at Mars
Will Phoenix survive its landing today on Mars? Phoenix's landing sequence will ramp up starting at about 7:30 pm EDT (23:30 UTC) today and last just over an hour. If all goes well, one of Phoenix's first images from Mars will appear on APOD tomorrow.