Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Fireball, Smoke Trail, Meteor Storm
Returning from orbit, space shuttles enter the atmosphere at about 8 kilometers per second as friction heats their protective ceramic tiles to over 1,400 degrees Celsius. By contrast, the bits of comet dust...
The Galactic Ring of NGC 6782
Do spiral galaxies look the same in every color? NGC 6782 demonstrates colorfully that they do not. In visible light, NGC 6782 appears to be a normal spiral galaxy with a bright bar across its center.
A Leonids Star Field
As meteor after meteor streaked across a moonless sky, photographers across the world snapped pictures of the 2001 Leonids Meteor Shower. Many recognized this as the best meteor shower they had ever seen. In fact, the 2001 Leonids was the most active meteor shower since the mid-1960s.
A 2001 Leonids Meteor Shower Fireball
The 2001 Leonids Meteor Shower gave quite a show to many parts of the world yesterday during the early morning hours. Many sleepy observers venturing into their own backyards were treated to several bright meteors per minute streaking across the sky.
A Leonid Meteor Explodes
Last night and tonight, a lucky few may see a meteor explode. As our Earth passes unusually close to debris expelled from Comet Tempel-Tuttle, many sand-sized particles from this comet are entering and burning up in the Earth's atmosphere.
Catching Falling Stardust
This carrot-shaped track is actually little more than 5 hundredths of an inch long. It is the trail of a meteroid through the high-tech substance aerogel exposed to space by the shuttle launched EURECA (European Recoverable Carrier) spacecraft.
Will the Leonids storm this year? The annual Leonid meteor shower should peak this weekend and some predictions suggest that "storm" rates of a thousand or more meteors per hour are possible for observers located in eastern North and Central America during the early morning hours of Sunday, November 18.
Twenty years ago this week, the Space Shuttle Columbia became the first reusable spaceship. Its second trip to low Earth orbit and back again began on November 12, 1981, following its maiden voyage by only seven months.
Auroras Over Both Earth Poles
Auroras in the north and south can be nearly mirror images of each other. Such mirroring had been suspected for centuries but dramatically confirmed only last month by detailed images from NASA's orbiting Polar spacecraft.
A Gravity Map of Earth
Is gravity the same over the surface of the Earth? No -- it turns out that in some places you will feel slightly heavier than others. The above relief map shows in exaggerated highs and lows where the gravitational field of Earth is relatively strong and weak.