Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)NGC 6070: First Light for Sloan
The graceful spiral galaxy NGC 6070, 100 million light-years distant in the constellation Serpens, is helping astronomers celebrate "First Light" (the first test sky images) for an exciting new telescope built to perform the ambitious Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
Ice Cusps on Europa
Europa's icy crust has many unusual features. Pictured above is part of Europa's southern hemisphere photographed by the Galileo spacecraft currently orbiting Jupiter. Europa is one of the largest moons of Jupiter, and is thought to have oceans of water underneath its ice-covered surface.
A Mars Glint
If aligned just right, even a planet can produce a glint. The above combined pictures of Mars make the red planet appear unusually elongated - Mars is really almost spherical. However, these pictures were taken when the Sun was nearly directly behind the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft.
The Hubble Deep Field
Galaxies like colorful pieces of candy fill the Hubble Deep Field - humanity's most distant yet optical view of the Universe. The dimmest, some as faint as 30th magnitude (about four billion times fainter...
M100: A Grand Design
Majestic on a truly cosmic scale, M100 is appropriately known as a Grand Design spiral galaxy. A large galaxy of over 100 billion or so stars with well defined spiral arms, it is similar to our own Milky Way.
Neutrinos in the Sun
Neutrinos, along with things like electrons and quarks, are fundamental pieces of matter according to physicists' Standard Model. But neutrinos are hard to detect. Readily produced in nuclear reactions and particle collisions, they can easily pass completely through planet Earth without once interacting with any other particle.
Comet SOHO and Nebulae in Orion
Astrophotographer Michael Horn captured this gorgeous view of comet SOHO in the dark night sky above Wandibindle, Queensland, Australia on May 23rd. On this date, comet SOHO was moving against the background of the nebula-rich constellation of Orion.
Martian Crater Shows Evidence of Dried Pond
Did a pond once exist in this Martian crater? Recent photographs by the spacecraft Mars Global Surveyor, currently in orbit around Mars, show features unusual for Mars yet similar to a dried pond on Earth.
NGC 6302: The Butterfly Nebula
The Butterfly Nebula is only thousands of years old. As a central star of a binary system aged, it threw off its outer envelopes of gas in a strong stellar wind. The remaining stellar core is so hot it ionizes the previously ejected gas, causing it to glow.
Solar Flares Cause Sun Quakes
An 11th magnitude quake has been recorded on the Sun, immediately following a moderate solar flare. The quake was the first ever recorded on the Sun, but only because astronomers have only recently figured out when and how to find them using the orbiting SOHO spacecraft.