Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Fractal Interstellar Dust Up-Close
Our universe is a very dusty place. Dust usually shows its presence by blocking out light emitted from stars or nebula behind it, sometimes creating the illusion of a horse's head or a sombrero hat. But nobody really knows what a typical interstellar dust grain looks like.
Unusual M82: The Cigar Galaxy
Something strange happened to this galaxy, but what? M82 is a nearby galaxy in the group of galaxies dominated by itself, M81, and NGC 3077. M82 is thought by some to be limping away from a close encounter with M81.
A Quasar in the Gamma Ray Sky
The bright object in the center of the false color image above is quasar 3C279 viewed in gamma-rays, photons with more than 40 million times the energy of visible light. Like all quasars, 3C279 is a nondescript, faint, starlike object in the visible sky.
The Leonid Meteor Shower (Tonight)
Tonight thousands of icy rocks will hurl toward Earth in a fascinating display of light called the Leonid Meteor Shower. There is little danger - few will reach the ground. But this year's Leonids could be nothing compared to the Leonids in 1998.
Searching For Solar Systems
Observational astronomy has recently provided evidence of the existence of massive Jupiter-sized planets orbiting distant suns, protoplanetary disks of gas and dust surrounding newly formed stars, and planetary bodies orbiting exotic stellar corpses known as pulsars. Indeed, the formation of planets seems to be a broader and more varied phenomenon than previously imagined.
Supernova Remnant and Neutron Star
A massive star ends life as a supernova, blasting its outer layers back to interstellar space. The spectacular death explosion is initiated by the collapse of what has become an impossibly dense stellar core. However, this core is not necessarily destroyed.
Seven Jets from Comet Hale-Bopp
Comet Hale-Bopp is turning out to be quite unusual. One reason is the great amount of jet activity at such a large distance from the Sun. In the above false-color image, no less than seven jets can be seen emanating from Hale-Bopp's coma.
Comet Hale-Bopp Passes M14
Comet Hale-Bopp continues its slow trek across the night sky, and can now be seen superposed near the bright globular cluster M14. Will Comet Hale-Bopp become as bright in early 1997 as Comet Hyakutake did in early 1996? It is still too early to tell.
NGC 4755: A Jewel Box of Stars
The great variety of star colors in this open cluster underlie it's name: The Jewel Box. The bright central star Kappa Crucis is red, in contrast to the many blue stars that surround it. The cluster contains just over 100 stars, and might be no older than 10 million years.
Rocket engines blazing, the Space Shuttle Columbia arcs into Florida's morning sky after lifting off from pad 39-A at Kennedy Space Center. Seen here in January of 1996, this space shuttle has been...