Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Plato and the Lunar Alps
The dark-floored, 95 kilometer wide crater Plato (top) and sunlit peaks of the lunar Alps are highlighted in this sharp digital mosaic of the Moon's surface. While the Alps of planet Earth were...
M8: The Lagoon Nebula
This beautiful cosmic cloud is a popular stop on telescopic tours of the constellation Sagittarius. Eighteenth century cosmic tourist Charles Messier cataloged the bright nebula as M8, while modern day astronomers recognize the Lagoon...
NGC 1309 and Friends
A gorgeous spiral galaxy some 100 million light-years distant, NGC 1309 lies on the banks of the constellation Eridanus. NGC 1309 spans about 30,000 light-years, one third the size of our larger Milky Way galaxy.
The Great Basin on Tethys
Some moons wouldn't survive the collision. Tethys, one of Saturn's larger moons at about 1000 kilometers in diameter, survived the collision, but sports today the expansive impact crater Odysseus. Sometimes called...
UB313: Larger than Pluto
What do you call an outer Solar System object that is larger than Pluto? Nobody is yet sure. The question arose recently when 2003 UB313, an object currently twice as far out as Pluto and not in the plane with the rest of the planets, was verified recently to be 30 percent wider than Pluto.
The N44 Superbubble
What created this gigantic hole? The vast emission nebula N44 in our neighboring galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud has a large, 250 light-year hole and astronomers are trying to figure out why. One possibility is particle winds expelled by massive stars in the bubble's interior that are pushing out the glowing gas.
A Sun Pillar in Red and Violet
Sometimes the unknown is beautiful. In 2000 February near Lake Tahoe, Nevada, two amateur photographers noticed an unusual red column of light rise mysteriously from a setting sun. During the next few minutes, they were able to capture the pillar and a photogenic sunset on film.
A nearly full Moon and planet Earth's shadow set together in this scene captured on January 13th from snowy Mt. Jelm, home of the Wyoming Infrared Observatory. For early morning risers (and late...
Cosmic Tornado HH 49 50
Light-years in length, this cosmic tornado is actually a powerful jet cataloged as HH (Herbig-Haro) 49/50 blasting down from the top of a Spitzer Space Telescope view. Though such energetic outflows are well known...
Thor s Helmet in H Alpha
Near picture center, the helmet-shaped structure with wing-like appendages is popularly called Thor's Helmet. Cataloged as NGC 2359, the striking nebula is located about 15,000 light-years away in the constellation Canis Major.