Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Zodiacal Light
Sometimes the sky itself seems to glow. Usually, this means you are seeing a cloud reflecting sunlight or moonlight. If the glow appears as a faint band of light running across the whole sky, you are probably seeing the combined light from the billions of stars that compose our Milky Way Galaxy.
Venus: Just Passing By
Venus, the second closest planet to the Sun, is a popular way-point for spacecraft headed for the gas giant planets in the outer reaches of the solar system. Why visit Venus first? Using...
AB Aurigae: How To Make Planets
This enhanced Hubble Space Telescope image shows in remarkable detail the inner portion of the disk of dust and gas surrounding the star AB Aurigae. Knots of material, visible here for the first time...
Mjølnir: Impact Crater
The stark surface of Earth's moon is pocked with large craters, records of a history of fierce bombardment by the solar system's formative debris. It may be difficult to imagine, but nearby planet Earth itself has endured a similar cosmic pounding, though oceans, weathering, and geological
NGC 4414: A Telling Spiral
How far away is this galaxy? Cosmologists the world over have been working hard to find out. Spiral galaxy NGC 4414 contains many Cepheid variable stars that oscillate in a way that allows astronomers to estimate their distance.
Trifid Pillars and 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...
Starbirth in the Trifid Nebula
Tremendous pillars of gas and dust are being boiled away in the Trifid Nebula. In the center of the picturesque Trifid lies a young hot star, located above and to the right of this picture. As soon as it was born, the massive star scorched its surroundings with bright and
Kepler Discovers How Planets Move
Johannes Kepler used simple mathematics to describe how planets move. Kepler was an assistant to the most accurate astronomical observer of the time, Tycho Brahe. Kepler was able to use Brahe's data...
Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse
Betelgeuse (sounds a lot like "beetle juice"), a red supergiant star about 600 light years distant, is seen in this Hubble Space Telescope image - the first direct picture of the surface of a star other than the Sun. While Betelgeuse is cooler than the Sun, it is more massive and over 1000 times larger.
NGC 3603: From Beginning To End
From beginning to end, different stages of a star's life appear in this exciting Hubble Space Telescope picture of the environs of galactic emission nebula NGC 3603. For the beginning, eye-catching "pillars" of glowing hydrogen at the right signal newborn stars emerging from their dense, gaseous, nurseries.