Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Jupiter and Saturn Pas de Deux
Viewed from Earth, the solar system's planets do a cosmic dance that is hard to appreciate on any single night. But consider this well planned animated sequence combining 23 pictures taken at approximately 2 week intervals from June 2000 through May 2001.
Finding Dark Matter
Where is dark matter? Galaxies rotate and move in clusters as if a tremendous amount of unseen matter is present. But does dark matter exist in the greater universe too -- and if so, where? The answer can be found by comparing the distribution of galaxies observed with numerical simulations.
Sharpless 212 in Hydrogen and Sulfur
Where do the most massive stars form? Observational evidence indicates that the outskirts of developing open clusters of stars are primary locations. Pictured above is one such open cluster: Sharpless 212. Visible in the image center are massive stars in the open cluster.
Leaving the International Space Station
It was time to go home. During their eight days aboard the Earth-orbiting International Space Station (ISS), ESA Flight Engineer Claudie Haigner, Russian Commander Victor Afanasyev, and Russian Flight Engineer Konstantin Kozeev had completed several experiments and successfully delivered a new lifeboat.
The Horsehead Nebula
One of the most identifiable nebulae in the sky, the Horsehead Nebula in Orion, is part of a large, dark, molecular cloud. Also known as Barnard 33, the unusual shape was first discovered on a photographic plate in the late 1800s.
Ganymede: Torn Comet Crater Chain
This striking line of 13 closely spaced craters on Jupiter's moon Ganymede was photographed by the Galileo spacecraft in 1997. The picture covers an area about 120 miles wide and the chain of craters cuts across a sharp boundary between dark and light terrain. What caused this crater chain?
NGC 7023: The Iris Nebula
Like delicate cosmic petals, these clouds of interstellar dust and gas have blossomed 1,300 light-years away in the fertile star fields of the constellation Cepheus. Sometimes called the Iris Nebula and dutifully cataloged as NGC 7023, this is not the only nebula in the sky to evoke the imagery of flowers.
The South Pole of Mars
The south pole of Mars is the bright area near the center of the detailed, subtly shaded color image above. Recorded in September of this year by the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft, the picture shows a region surrounding the 400 kilometer wide martian polar cap in the midst of southern hemisphere spring.
Leonids Over Korean Observatory
There were two peaks to this year's Leonid Meteor Shower. The first peak was best seen during the early morning hours of November 18 in North America, while the second peak, almost twice the intensity of the first, occurred eight hours later and was best seen from Asia.
Venusian Half Shell
Venus, second planet from the Sun, appears above imaged for the first time ever in x-rays (left) by the orbiting Chandra Observatory. Chandra's smoothed, false-color, x-ray view is compared to an optical image (right) from a small earthbound telescope.