Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)NGC 7331 and Beyond
Big, beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 7331 is often touted as an analog to our own Milky Way. About 50 million light-years distant in the northern constellation Pegasus, NGC 7331 was recognized early on as a spiral nebula and is actually one of the brighter galaxies not included in Charles Messier's famous 18th century catalog.
The Far 3kpc Arm
A major discovery was lurking in the data. By accident, while preparing a talk on the Galaxy's spiral arms for a meeting of the American Astronomical Society, Tom Dame (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA) found it - a new spiral arm in the Milky Way.
Enhanced Color Caloris
The sprawling Caloris basin on Mercury is one of the solar system's largest impact basins. Created during the early history of the solar system by the impact of a large asteroid-sized body, the basin spans about 1,500 kilometers and is seen in yellowish hues in this enhanced color mosaic.
Planets and Fire by Moonlight
On July 5th, wandering planets, bright stars, and a young crescent Moon graced western skies after sunset. Arrayed along the solar system's ecliptic plane, the three celestial beacons forming this skyscape's eye-catching line-up with the Moon are Saturn (upper left), then Mars, and finally Regulus, alpha star of the constellation Leo.
In the Heart of the Virgo Cluster
The Virgo Cluster of Galaxies is the closest cluster of galaxies to our Milky Way Galaxy. The Virgo Cluster is so close that it spans more than 5 degrees on the sky - about 10 times the angle made by a full Moon.
The Southern Cross in a Southern Sky
This breathtaking patch of sky would be above you were you to stand at the South Pole of the Earth. On the upper left of this image are the four stars that mark the boundaries of the famous Southern Cross.
Apollo 17 VIP Site Anaglyph
Get out your red/blue glasses and check out this stereo scene from Taurus-Littrow valley on the Moon! The color anaglyph features a detailed 3D view of Apollo 17's Lunar Rover in the foreground -- behind it lies the Lunar Module and distant lunar hills.
Comet Between Fireworks and Lightning
Sometimes the sky itself is the best show in town. Last January, people from Perth, Australia gathered on a local beach to watch a sky light up with delights near and far. Nearby, fireworks exploded as part of Australia Day celebrations. On the far right, lightning from a thunderstorm flashed in the distance.
SN 1006 Supernova Remnant
A new star, likely the brightest supernova in recorded human history, lit up planet Earth's sky in the year 1006 AD. The expanding debris cloud from the stellar explosion, found in the southerly constellation of Lupus, still puts on a cosmic light show across the electromagnetic spectrum.
The strange-looking rock formations in the foreground of this skyscape are called hoodoos. Towers of weathered, eroded sedimentary rock, hoodoos are found in arid regions of planet Earth and are particularly abundant in an area known as Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah, USA.