Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Bright Bolide
On September 30, a spectacular bolide or fireball meteor surprised a group of amateur astronomers enjoying dark night skies over the Oklahoma panhandle's Black Mesa State Park in the Midwestern US. Flashing past...
Irregular Galaxy NGC 55
Irregular galaxy NGC 55 is thought to be similar to the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). But while the LMC is about 180,000 light-years away and is a well known satellite of our own Milky Way Galaxy, NGC 55 is more like 6 million light-years distant and is a member of the Sculptor Galaxy Group.
Massive Stars in NGC 6357
Massive Stars lie within NGC 6357, an expansive emission nebula complex some 8,000 light-years away in the tail of the constellation Scorpius. In fact, positioned just below center in this close-up view...
Mercury as Revealed by MESSENGER
The planet Mercury has been known since history has been recorded, but parts of the Solar System's innermost planet have never been seen like this before. Two days ago the robotic MESSENGER spacecraft buzzed past Mercury for the second time and imaged terrain mapped previously only by comparatively crude radar.
Dust Mountains in the Carina Nebula
Bright young stars sometimes sculpt picturesque dust mountains soon after being born. Created quite by accident, the energetic light and winds from these massive newborn stars burn away accumulations of dark dust and cool gas in a slow but persistent manner.
Layers of Cliffs in Northern Mars
How did these layers of red cliffs form on Mars? No one is sure. The northern ice cap on Mars is nearly divided into two by a huge division named Chasma Boreale. No similar formation occurs on Earth. Pictured above, several dusty layers leading into this deep chasm are visible.
Earth at Night
This is what the Earth looks like at night. Can you find your favorite country or city? Surprisingly, city lights make this task quite possible. Human-made lights highlight particularly developed or populated areas of the Earth's surface, including the seaboards of Europe, the eastern United States, and Japan.
A Solar Prominence Unfurls
On September 29, this magnificent eruptive solar prominence lifted away from the Sun's surface, unfurling into space over the course of several hours. Suspended in twisted magnetic fields, the hot plasma structure is many times the size of planet Earth and was captured in this view by the Sun-watching STEREO (Ahead) spacecraft.
Young Suns of NGC 7129
Young suns still lie within dusty NGC 7129, some 3,000 light-years away toward the royal constellation Cepheus. While these stars are at a relatively tender age, only about a million years old, it is likely that our own Sun formed in a similar stellar nursery some five billion years ago.
NGC 253 Close Up
This dusty island universe is one of the brightest spiral galaxies in the sky. Seen nearly edge-on, NGC 253 lies a mere 13 million light-years away and is the largest member of the Sculptor Group of galaxies, neighbor to our own local galaxy group.