Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)M104: The Sombrero Galaxy
What's going on in the center of this spiral galaxy? Named the Sombrero Galaxy for its hat-like resemblance, M104 features a prominent dust lane and a bright halo of stars and globular clusters.
Southern Lights and Shuttle Glow
A background of distant stars, sinuous and spiky bands of Southern Lights (Aurora Australis), and the faint glow of charged plasma (ionized atomic gas) surrounding the Space Shuttle Discovery's engines give this photo from the STS-39 mission an eerie, otherworldly look.
Neptune: Big Blue Giant
This picture was taken by the Voyager 2 spacecraft in 1989 - the only spacecraft ever to visit Neptune. Neptune will be the farthest planet from the Sun until 1999, when the elliptical orbit of Pluto will cause it to once again resume this status.
Hale Bopp: A Continuing Tail
Where is Hale-Bopp now? The Great Comet of 1997, one of the largest and most active comets ever, is outbound about 400 million miles from the sun. Too faint for viewing without telescopes or binoculars, Hale-Bopp is presently positioned in the very southerly constellation of Pictor.
Miranda is a bizarre world which surely had a tempestuous past. The innermost of the larger Uranian moons, Miranda is almost 300 miles in diameter and was discovered only 50 years ago (February 16, 1948) by the renown American planetary astronomer Gerard Kuiper.
M27: The Dumbbell Nebula
The first hint of what will become of our Sun was discovered inadvertently in 1764. At that time, Charles Messier was compiling a list of "annoying" diffuse objects not to be confused with "interesting" comets.
Shocked by Supernova 1987a
Eleven years ago the brightest supernova of modern times was recorded. Now the expanding debris from this tremendous stellar explosion is seen to be crashing into previously expelled material. The onset of this collision is shown by the arrow in the above picture as the yellow spot on the interior of the ring.
Sagittarius Dwarf to Collide with Milky Way
Our Galaxy is being invaded. Recent observations indicate that in the next 100 million years, the Sagittarius Dwarf galaxy will move though the disk of our own Milky Way Galaxy yet again . The Sagittarius...
Stars Without Galaxies
Galaxies are made up of stars, but are all stars found within galaxies? Using the Hubble Space Telescope, researchers exploring the Virgo Cluster of galaxies have now found about 600 red giant stars adrift in intergalactic space. Above is an artist's vision of the sky from a hypothetical planet of such a lonely sun.
The Rosette Nebula
Would the Rosette Nebula by any other name look as sweet? The bland New General Catalog designation of NGC 2237 doesn't appear to diminish the appearance of the this flowery emission nebula. Inside the nebula lies an open cluster of bright young stars designated NGC 2244.