Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)Doomed Star Eta Carinae
Eta Carinae may be about to explode. But no one knows when - it may be next year, it may be one million years from now. Eta Carinae's mass - about 100 times greater than our Sun - make it an excellent candidate for a full blown supernova.
Here's a switch: the above picture is of the Earth taken from a lunar observatory! This false color picture shows how the Earth glows in ultraviolet (UV) light. UV light is so blue humans can't see it.
Blasting Off From the Moon
How did the astronauts get back from the Moon? The Lunar Module that landed two astronauts on the Moon actually came apart. The top part containing the astronauts carried additional rocket fuel which allowed it to blast away, leaving the bottom part on the Moon forever.
The First Lunar Observatory
The first and only lunar astronomical observatory was deployed by the Apollo 16 crew in 1972. The Far Ultraviolet Camera / Spectrograph used a 3-inch diameter telescope to photograph the Earth, various nebulae, star clusters, and the Large Magellanic Cloud.
Apollo 16: Exploring Plum Crater
Apollo 16 spent three days on Earth's Moon in April 1972. The fifth lunar landing mission out of six, Apollo 16 was famous for deploying and using an ultraviolet telescope as the first lunar observatory, and for collecting rocks and data on the mysterious lunar highlands. In the above picture, astronaut John W.
The North America Nebula
Here's a familiar shape in an unfamiliar location! This emission nebula is famous partly because it resembles Earth's North American Continent. To the right of the North America Nebula is a less luminous Pelican Nebula. Let's be grateful that pelicans aren't really that large!
Sagittarius and the Central Milky Way
What does the center of our Milky Way Galaxy look like? No one knows! It is not possible to see the Galactic center in light our eyes are sensitive to because the thick dust in the plane of our Galaxy obscures it.
Impact! 65 Million Years Ago
What killed the dinosaurs? Their sudden disappearence 65 million years ago, along with about 70 percent of all species then living on Earth, is known as the K-T event (Cretaceous-Tertiary Mass Extinction event). Geologists and paleontologists often entertain the idea of a large asteroid or comet impacting the Earth as the culprit.
This dream-like image of Mir was recorded by astronauts as the Space Shuttle Atlantis approached the Russian Space Station prior to docking during the STS-76 mission. Sporting spindly appendages and solar pannels, Mir resembles a whimsical flying insect as it orbits above New Zealand's South Island near the Cook Straight.
6 Up 5 Down
This fish-eye view of a dramatic night launch of the Shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-76 was recorded on March 22, 1996. The mission carried 6 astronauts aloft, and returned with 5 -- delivering one crew member, Shannon Lucid, to the Mir Space Station. Lucid is currently onboard the Mir as a cosmonaut guest researcher.