Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Messier 104
A gorgeous spiral galaxy, Messier 104 is famous for its nearly edge-on profile featuring a broad ring of obscuring dust lanes. Seen in silhouette against an extensive central bulge of stars, the swath of cosmic dust lends a broad brimmed hat-like appearance to the galaxy suggesting a more popular moniker, the Sombrero Galaxy.
Planet Earth at Twilight
No sudden, sharp boundary marks the passage of day into night in this gorgeous view of ocean and clouds over our fair planet Earth. Instead, the shadow line or terminator is diffuse and shows the gradual transition to darkness we experience as twilight.
Apollo 16 Moon Panorama
Fifty years ago, April 20, 1972, Apollo 16's lunar module Orion touched down on the Moon's near side in the south-central Descartes Highlands. While astronaut Ken Mattingly orbited overhead in Casper the friendly command and service module the Orion brought John Young and Charles Duke to the lunar surface.
Planet Line over New York Bridge
There's an interesting sky to see if you wake up before the Sun. Lined up on toward the eastern horizon are four planets in a row. The planets are so bright they can even be seen from the bright sky inside a city.
Stars and Globules in the Running Chicken Nebula
The eggs from this gigantic chicken may form into stars. The featured emission nebula, shown in scientifically assigned colors, is cataloged as IC 2944 but known as the Running Chicken Nebula for the shape of its greater appearance. Seen toward the bottom of the image are small, dark molecular clouds rich in obscuring cosmic dust.
Stars and Planets over Portugal
The mission was to document night-flying birds -- but it ended up also documenting a beautiful sky. The featured wide-angle mosaic was taken over the steppe golden fields in Mцrtola, Portugal in 2020. From such a dark location, an immediately-evident breathtaking glow arched over the night sky: the central band of our Milky Way galaxy.
Shuttle Over Earth
What's that approaching? Astronauts on board the International Space Station in 2010 first saw it far in the distance. Soon it enlarged to become a dark silhouette. As it came even closer, the silhouette appeared to be a spaceship.
Taken with a camera fixed to a tripod, many short exposures were aligned with the stars to unveil this beautiful, dark night sky. Captured near the rural village of Albany`a at the northeastern corner of Spain, the three stars of Orion's belt stretch across top center in the starry frame.
The Gator Back Rocks of Mars
Wind-sharpened rocks known as ventifacts, cover this broad sloping plain in the foot hills of Mount Sharp, Gale crater, Mars. Dubbed gator-back rocks their rugged, scaly appearance is captured in these digitally stitched Mastcam frames from the Curiosity rover on mission sol 3,415 (March 15, 2022).
Spiral arms seem to swirl around the core of Messier 96 in this colorful, detailed portrait of a beautiful island universe. Of course M96 is a spiral galaxy, and counting the faint arms extending beyond the brighter central region it spans 100 thousand light-years or so.