Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)APOD: 2008 January 1- Rays from an Unexpected Aurora
This aurora was a bit of a surprise. For starters, on this day in 2002, no intense auroral activity was expected at all. Possibly more surprising, however, the aurora appeared to show an usual structure of green rays from some locations.
A Year of Spectacular Comets
Two spectacular comets graced Earth's skies during 2007. Both comets became bright enough to be seen by the unaided eye of the casual sky enthusiast. Early in 2007, Comet McNaught grew brighter than any comet in 40 years, displaying a beautiful dust tail that flowed across the sky.
Mammatus Clouds Over Mexico
Normal cloud bottoms are flat because moist warm air that rises and cools will condense into water droplets at a very specific temperature, which usually corresponds to a very specific height. After water droplets form that air becomes an opaque cloud.
Saturn s Infrared Glow
(xxxedit and linkxxx) Known for its bright ring system and many moons, gas giant Saturn looks strange and unfamiliar in this false-color view from the Cassini spacecraft. In fact, in this Visual and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer (VIMS) mosaic the famous rings are almost invisible, seen edge-on cutting across picture center.
A Beautiful Boomerang Nebula
This symmetric cloud dubbed the Boomerang Nebula was created by a high-speed wind of gas and dust blowing from an aging central star at speeds of nearly 600,000 kilometers per hour. The rapid...
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.
Trifid Pillars & Jets
Dust pillars are like interstellar mountains. They survive because they are more dense than their surroundings, but they are being slowly eroded away by a hostile environment. Visible in the above picture...
Mars and Orion Over Monument Valley
Welcome to The World At Night. Sharing the night sky seen around the world, this view from Monument Valley, USA includes a picturesque foreground of famous buttes. Buttes are composed of hard volcanic rock left behind after water eroded away the surrounding soft rock.
Emission Nebula IC 1396
Sprawling across hundreds of light-years, emission nebula IC 1396 mixes glowing cosmic gas and dark dust clouds. Stars are forming in this area, only about 3,000 light-years from Earth. This detailed view...
Moon and Mars Tonight
The Full Moon and a brilliant, ruddy Mars will share the sky tonight. Skygazers can easily enjoy the celestial pairing as the two are separated by a degree or even less. In fact, seen from parts of northern North America and Europe, the Moon will actually occult (pass in front of) the Red Planet.