Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Prometheus, Pandora and Saturn's F Ring
The third and fourth innermost moons of Saturn were unexpectedly discovered to be gravitational "shepards." The inner moon Prometheus and the outer moon Pandora use their gravitational attraction to define Saturn's outermost ring.
Summer at the South Pole
December 22 marks the Winter Solstice - the beginning of winter in the Earth's northern hemisphere, and the first day of summer in the south! This view of Earth's southern hemisphere near the beginning of its summer was created using images from the Galileo spacecraft taken during the December 1990 flyby.
Hot Stars in the Trifid Nebula
In the center of the glowing red gas on the Trifid Nebula lies an open cluster of young hot stars. The energetic light from these stars strikes hydrogen atoms in the surrounding nebula causing them to lose their electrons.
A Galaxy Gravitational Lens
Sometimes it takes a keen eye to see a good mirage. Around the center of the red galaxy image in the above photograph lie four blue "smudges." Each smudge is actually a different image of the same background quasar. The central galaxy happens to fall directly in the light path of the quasar.
Albert Einstein: 1879 - 1955
Albert Einstein is considered by many the greatest astrophysicist. He is pictured here in the Swiss Patent Office where he did much of his great work. Einstein's many visionary scientific contributions include...
M51: The Whirlpool Galaxy
The Whirlpool Galaxy is frequently given as an example of a galaxy with classic spiral design. At only 15 million light years distant, M51, also cataloged as NGC 5194, is also one of the brighter and more picturesque galaxies on the sky.
The Space Shuttle Docks with Mir
Hundreds of kilometers above the Earth's surface, the United States Space Shuttle Atlantis docks with the Russian Space Station Mir. The photograph was taken by Nikolai Budarin from a Russian Soyuz spacecraft on July 4, 1995.
Aloha! With the graceful arc of the Earth's limb in the background, the entire Hawaiian Island archipelago is visible in this stunning photo taken by the astronauts onboard the shuttle Discovery in October of 1988. Along with popular beaches and tropical resorts, these volcanic islands offer extreme elevations with dark, dry, cloudless skies.
M64: The Sleeping Beauty Galaxy
The Sleeping Beauty galaxy may appear peaceful at first sight but it is actually tossing and turning. In an unexpected twist, recent observations have shown that the center of this photogenic galaxy is rotating in the opposite direction than the outer regions!
An Atlas Centaur Rocket Launches
Atlas Centaur rockets have launched over 75 successful unmanned missions. These missions included the Surveyor series - the first vehicles to make soft landings on the Moon, Pioneer 10 and 11 - the first missions...