Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Recycling Cassiopeia A
Massive stars in our Milky Way Galaxy live spectacular lives. Collapsing from vast cosmic clouds, their nuclear furnaces ignite and create heavy elements in their cores. After a few million years, the enriched material is blasted back into interstellar space where star formation can begin anew.
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.
Grand Spiral Galaxy NGC 1232
Galaxies are fascinating not only for what is visible, but for what is invisible. Grand spiral galaxy NGC 1232, captured in detail by one of the Very Large Telescopes, is a good example.
Fireball in the Arctic
Something very bright suddenly lit up the arctic -- what was it? The original idea was to take a series of aurora images that could be made into a time-lapse video. But when night suddenly turned into day, the astrophotographer quickly realized that he was seeing something even more spectacular.
SpaceX Rocket Launch Plume over California
What's happened to the sky? On Friday, the photogenic launch plume from a SpaceX rocket launch created quite a spectacle over parts of southern California and Arizona. Looking at times like a giant...
Phaethon s Brood
Based on its well-measured orbit, 3200 Phaethon (sounds like FAY-eh-thon) is recognized as the source of the meteroid stream responsible for the annual Geminid meteor shower. Even though most meteor showers' parents are comets, 3200 Phaethon is a known and closely tracked near-Earth asteroid with a 1.4 year orbital period.
Gemini s Meteors
From dark skies above Heilongjiang province in northeastern China, meteors rain down on a wintry landscape in this beautiful composited night scene. The 48 meteors are part of last week's annual Geminid meteor shower.
Solstice Sun and Milky Way
Welcome to December's solstice, first day of winter in the north and summer for the southern hemisphere. Astronomical markers of the seasons, solstice and equinox dates are based on the Sun's place in its annual journey along the ecliptic, through planet Earth's sky.
How to Wash Your Hair in Space
How can you wash your hair in space -- without gravity? Long a bother for space-faring astronauts, Karen Nyberg, a flight engineer on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2013, gave a tutorial. Key components are a squirt package of water, no-rinse shampoo, and vigorous use of a towel and comb.
The Spiral North Pole of Mars
Why is there a spiral around the North Pole of Mars? Each winter this pole develops a new outer layer about one meter thick composed of carbon dioxide frozen out of the thin Martian atmosphere. This fresh layer is deposited on a water-ice layer that exists year round.