Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Planetary Nebula NGC 7027 in Infrared
NGC 7027 is one of the smallest known planetary nebulae. Even so, NGC 7027 is 14,000 times larger than the Earth-Sun distance. Planetary nebula are so named because the first few discovered appeared similar to planets. Planetary nebula are actually dying stars, though, that have recently run out of nuclear fuel.
A Baby Galaxy
What's the farthest galaxy known? The answer keeps changing as astronomers compete to find new galaxies which top the list. The new record holder is now the faint red smudge indicated in the above image by the arrow.
Starbirth in NGC 1808
The center of galaxy NGC 1808 is bursting with new stars, but why? Being a barred spiral galaxy makes NGC 1808 somewhat similar to our own Milky Way Galaxy. But the disk of NGC 1808 (inset) is quite warped, and its center is unusually bright and blue.
Sunspots: Magnetic Depressions
Our Sun has spots! These spots appear dark in photographs like the one above, but in fact sunspots are quite bright - they are just dark compared to the rest of the Sun. Sunspots are about the size of the Earth and frequently occur in groups, as shown above.
The Gamma Ray Sky
What if you could "see" gamma rays? If you could, the sky would seem to be filled with a shimmering high-energy glow from the most exotic and mysterious objects in the Universe.
Mars: Ridges Near the South Pole
No, it's not breakfast ... but looking down from an orbiting spacecraft, the odd intersecting ridges covering this area of Mars do present a waffle-like appearance. The cause of the ridge pattern is unknown but it suggests that more complex layered deposits lie below.
Mars: A Canyon's Edge
High resolution Mars Global Surveyor images were combined with Viking Orbiter color data to produce this stunning, detailed view of a Martian canyon's edge. The area pictured is about 6 miles wide and represents a tiny part of the northern edge of the canyon Valles Marineris, whose total length is about 2,500 miles.
Interstellar Dust Bunnies of NGC 891
What is going on in NGC 891? This galaxy appeared previously to be very similar to our own Milky Way Galaxy: a spiral galaxy seen nearly edge-on. However, recent high-resolution images of NGC 891's dust show unusual filamentary patterns extending well away from its Galactic disk.
Clouds Over Tharsis on Mars
When and where do clouds form on Mars? The Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft currently orbiting Mars is finding out. Photographs released last week showed clouds forming above Tharsis, a huge bulge on Mars about 4000 kilometers across and 7 kilometers high containing several large volcanoes.
Asteroids in the Distance
Rocks from space hit Earth every day. The larger the rock, though, the less often Earth is struck. Many kilograms of space dust pitter to Earth daily. Larger bits appear initially as a bright meteor. Baseball-sized rocks and ice-balls streak through our atmosphere daily, most evaporating quickly to nothing.