Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Happy Face Crater on Mars
Even Mars can put on a happy face. The Martian crater Galle has internal markings reminiscent of a smiley face symbol. Such markings were originally discovered in the late 1970s in pictures taken by the Viking Orbiter. A large meteor impacted the Martian surface to form the crater.
The Comet and the Galaxy
The Moon almost ruined this photograph. During late March and early April 1997, Comet Hale-Bopp passed nearly in front of the Andromeda Galaxy. Here the Great Comet of 1997 and the Great Galaxy in Andromeda were photographed together on 1997 March 24th. The problem was the brightness of the Moon.
Phobos Over Mars
Hurtling through space a mere 3,000 miles above the Martian surface, the diminutive moon Phobos (below and left of center) was imaged against the backdrop of a large shield volcano by the Viking 2 Orbiter in 1977.
Hydrogen, Helium, and the Stars of M10
Stars like the Sun use hydrogen for fuel, "burning" hydrogen into helium at their cores through nuclear fusion. But what happens when that hydrogen runs out? For a while, hydrogen burns in a shell surrounding the stellar core and the star expands to become a red giant.
5 Million Miles From Io
Twenty years ago this month, NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft flew past Jupiter and its moons. This sharp picture of moon Io against a background of gas giant Jupiter's diffuse swirling cloud bands was recorded by Voyager's camera from a distance of about 5 million miles.
NGC 2997 from VLT
Add another 8-meter telescope to the list of modern optical telescope giants. Kueyen achieved a first-light photograph of a bright star on March 1, ahead of schedule. The above picture of spiral galaxy...
The VLT Interferometric Array
The Very Large Telescope (VLT) Interferometric Array will be able to act as individual telescopes or as one huge telescope. Of the four planned VLTs in Chile, two have now reached completion. The first VLT to operate is visible on the left of the above photograph and was recently given the name Antu.
A Jupiter Venus Conjunction
Venus and Jupiter appeared unusually close together in the sky last month. The conjunction was easily visible to the unaided eye because Venus appears brighter than any background star. The two planets were not significantly closer in space - Venus just passed nearly in front of Jupiter as seen from the Earth.
Tychos Supernova Remnant in X ray
How often do stars explode? By looking at external galaxies, astronomers can guess that these events, known as a supernovae, should occur about once every 30 years in a typical spiral galaxy like our MilkyWay.
Miranda, Chevron, and Alonso
Miranda is a bizarre world which surely had a tempestuous past. The innermost of the larger Uranian moons, Miranda is almost 300 miles in diameter and was discovered in 1948 by American planetary astronomer Gerard Kuiper.