Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 2903
NGC 2903 is a spiral galaxy similar to our own Milky Way Galaxy. Similarities include its general size and a central bar. One striking difference, however, is the appearance of mysterious hot spots in NGC 2903's core. Upon
Welcome to the equinox! Moving northward in Earth's sky, today the Sun crosses the celestial equator at 13:31 Universal Time bringing Spring to the north and Fall to the south. The change...
Pluto in True Color
Pluto is mostly brown. The above picture captures the true colors of Pluto as well as the highest surface resolution so far recovered. No spacecraft has yet visited this most distant planet in our Solar System.
The Nearest Stars
Which stars are closest to the Sun? The closest is Proxima Centauri, one of three stars that orbit each other about 4 light-years away in the Alpha-Centauri system. Alpha Centauri is easily visible from Earth's
Astro 2 In Orbit
Six years ago, a cluster of three ultraviolet telescopes flew into orbit on the Astro-2 mission aboard the space shuttle Endeavour. Seen here perched in Endeavour's payload bay about 350 kilometers above the Australian desert are the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope (HUT), the Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UIT), and the Wisconsin Ultraviolet Photo-Polarimeter Experiment (WUPPE).
Rockets and Robert Goddard
Robert H. Goddard, one of the founding fathers of modern rocketry, was born in Worcester Massachusetts in 1882. As a 16 year old, Goddard read H.G. Wells' science fiction classic "War Of The Worlds" and dreamed of space flight. By 1926 he had designed, built, and flown the world's first liquid fuel rocket.
Islands in the Photosphere
Awash in a sea of plasma and anchored in magnetic fields, sunspots are planet-sized, dark islands in the solar photosphere, the bright surface of the Sun. Before the enlightened(!) age of cameras, solar observers created detailed drawings of sunspots as they changed and progressed across the visible solar disk.
Comet McNaught Hartley
Outbound and climbing above the plane of our solar system, comet McNaught-Hartley (C/1999 T1) is presently soaring through northern skies. This telescopic picture, a composite of many 30 second exposures made through three color filters, recorded the delicate colors in its diminutive coma and faint tail on February 26th.
A Sun Pillar
Have you ever seen a sun pillar? When the air is cold and the Sun is rising or setting, falling ice crystals can reflect sunlight and create an unusual column of light. Ice sometimes forms flat, stop-sign shaped crystals as it falls from high-level clouds.
M82 After the Crash
When did the Cigar Galaxy light up? Evidence indicates how M82, the Cigar Galaxy, became so bright and peculiar: it collided with neighboring galaxy M81. Astronomers become detectives, however, when trying to figure out when this collision occurred.