Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Small Galaxy NGC 4449
Grand spiral galaxies often seem to get all the glory. Their newly formed, bright, blue star clusters along beautiful, symmetric spiral arms are guaranteed to attract attention. But small irregular galaxies form stars too, like NGC 4449, located about 12 million light-years away.
Sunrise from the Surface of Gliese 581c
How might a sunrise appear on Gliese 581c? One artistic guess is shown above. Gliese 581c is the most Earth-like planet yet discovered and lies a mere 20 light-years distant. The central red dwarf...
Swirling Clouds Over the South Pole of Venus
What's happening over the South Pole of Venus? To find out, scientists sent the robot Venus Express spacecraft now orbiting Venus directly over the lower spin axis of Earth's overheated twin. Venus Express confirmed there a spectacular massive swirling storm system with similarities to the vortex recently imaged over Saturn's South Pole.
Dust Pillars of the Carina Nebula
Inside the head of this interstellar monster is a star that is slowly destroying it. The monster, actually an inanimate pillar of gas and dust, measures over a light year in length. The star, not itself visible through the opaque dust, is bursting out partly by ejecting energetic beams of particles.
NGC 6302: Big, Bright, Bug Nebula
The bright clusters and nebulae of planet Earth's night sky are often named for flowers or insects, and NGC 6302 is no exception. With an estimated surface temperature of about 250,000 degrees...
Young Moon and Sister Stars
A young crescent Moon shared the western sky with thin clouds and the sister stars of the Pleiades cluster in this early evening skyscape recorded on April 19th. Astronomical images of the well-known Pleiades often show the star cluster's alluring blue reflection nebulae, but they are washed-out here in the clouds and bright moonlight.
M81 in Ursa Major
One of the brightest galaxies in planet Earth's sky and similar in size to the Milky Way, big, beautiful spiral M81 lies 11.8 million light-years away in the northern constellation Ursa Major. This...
Gliese 581 and the Habitable Zone
The faint, unremarkable star centered in this skyview is Gliese 581, a mere 20 light-years away toward the constellation Libra. But astronomers are now reporting the discovery of a remarkable system of three planets orbiting Gliese 581, including the most earth-like planet found beyond our solar system.
Carina Nebula Panorama from Hubble
In one of the brightest parts of Milky Way lies a nebula where some of the oddest things occur. NGC 3372, known as the Great Nebula in Carina, is home to massive stars and changing nebula.
The Sun in Three Dimensions
What does the Sun look like in all three spatial dimensions? To find out, NASA launched two STEREO satellites to perceive three dimensions on the Sun much like two eyes allow humans to perceive three dimensions on the Earth.