Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)COBE Hotspots:The Oldest Structures Known
Above are two images of the microwave sky, north and south of our galaxy's equator, based on data from NASA's COsmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite. After computer processing to remove contributions from nearby objects and the effects of the earth's motion, they show "spots".
COBE Dipole: Speeding Through the Universe
Our Earth is not at rest. The Earth moves around the Sun. The Sun orbits the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. The Milky Way Galaxy orbits in the Local Group. The Local Group falls toward the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies.
Comet Hale-Bopp Enters the Evening Sky
You no longer have to wake-up early to see Comet Hale-Bopp. From many northern locations, you can now go outside just after sunset and see Comet Hale-Bopp above the north-western horizon. Both writer/editors of APOD are impressed by how bright Comet Hale-Bopp has become, and how easily visible it is.
Hubble Floats Free
Why put observatories in space? Most telescopes are on the ground. On the ground, you can deploy a heavier telescope and upgrade it more easily. The trouble is that Earth-bound telescopes must look through the Earth's atmosphere.
In the Center of NGC 604
Stars are sometimes born in the midst of chaos. About 3 million years ago in the nearby galaxy M33, a large cloud of gas spawned dense internal knots which gravitationally collapsed to form stars. But NGC 604 was so large, it could form enough stars to make a globular cluster.
Solar Wind And Milky Way
The Sun is bright, so bright that it overwhelms the light from other stars even for most satellite-borne telescopes. But LASCO, a coronograph onboard the space-based SOHO Observatory, uses occulting disks to block the intense solar light and examine the tenuous, hot gases millions of miles above the Sun's surface.
Pioneer 10: The First 6 Billion Miles
Q: What was made by humans and is 6 billion miles away? A: Pioneer 10 - and yesterday was the 25th anniversary of its launch. More than 9 light hours distant, Pioneer 10 is presently about twice as far from the Sun as Pluto, bound for interstellar space at 28,000 miles per hour.
Aloha! With the graceful arc of the Earth's limb in the background, the entire Hawaiian Island archipelago is visible in this stunning photo taken by the astronauts onboard the shuttle Discovery in October of 1988. Along with popular beaches and tropical resorts, these volcanic islands offer extreme elevations with dark, dry, cloudless skies.
Galaxy Dwingeloo 1 Emerges
Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees. But if you look closely at the center of the above photograph, you will see a whole spiral galaxy behind the field of stars.
Edge-On Spiral Galaxy NGC 891
Is our Galaxy this thin? We believe so. The Milky Way, like NGC 891 pictured above, has the width of a typical spiral galaxy. Spirals have most of their bright stars, gas, and obscuring dust in a thin disk.