Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Infrared Helix
Over six hundred light years from Earth, in the constellation Aquarius, a sun-like star is dying. Its last few thousand years have produced the Helix Nebula (NGC 7293), a well studied and nearby example of a Planetary Nebula, typical of this final phase of stellar evolution.
The Tadpoles of IC 410
This close-up view shows a portion of otherwise faint emission nebula IC 410 in striking false-colors. It also shows two remarkable denizens of the glowing gas cloud at the right - the "tadpoles" of IC 410. The picture is a composite of images taken through narrow band filters intended to trace atoms in the nebula.
The Phases of Venus
Venus goes through phases. Just like our Moon, Venus can appear as full as a disk or as a thin as a crescent. Venus, frequently the brightest object in the post-sunset or pre-sunrise sky, appears so small, however, that it usually requires binoculars or a small telescope to clearly see its current phase.
M45: The Pleiades Star Cluster
Perhaps the most famous star cluster on the sky, the Pleiades can be seen without binoculars from even the depths of a light-polluted city. Also known as the Seven Sisters and M45, the Pleiades is one of the brightest and closest open clusters.
Arp 188 and the Tadpoles Tidal Tail
In this stunning vista recorded with the Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys, distant galaxies form a dramatic backdrop for disrupted spiral galaxy Arp 188, the Tadpole Galaxy. The cosmic tadpole is a mere 420 million light-years distant toward the northern constellation Draco.
Apollo 17 s Moonship
Awkward and angular looking, Apollo 17's lunar module Challenger was designed for flight in the vacuum of space. This picture from command module America, shows Challenger's ascent stage in lunar orbit. Small reaction control thrusters are at the sides of the moonship with the bell of the ascent rocket engine underneath.
The Tarantula Nebula
First cataloged as a star, 30 Doradus is actually an immense star forming region in nearby galaxy The Large Magellanic Cloud. The region's spidery appearance is responsible for its popular name, the Tarantula Nebula, except that this tarantula is about 1,000 light-years across, and 180,000 light-years away in the southern constellation Dorado.
New Year Mars Panorama
According to an Earth-based calendar, the Spirit rover spent the first day of 2006 gathering data to complete this panoramic view from Gusev crater on Mars. That day corresponded to Spirit's 710th Martian day or sol on the Red Planet.
Hauoli Makahiki Hou
Fading sunlight, a young crescent Moon, and brilliant Venus shared the western sky in this view of 2005's final sunset from the top of Mount Haleakala, on Maui, Hawaii. Also known as the Sacred House of the Sun, Haleakala, is Maui's dormant volcano.
Dark Terrain on Saturn s Iapetus
Why are vast sections of Iapetus as dark as coal? No one knows for sure. Iapetus, the third largest moon of Saturn, was inspected again as the Saturn-orbiting robot Cassini spacecraft swooped past the enigmatic world again late last year.