Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)The Colorful Moon
Do you recognize the Earth's Moon when you see it? The crazy, patchwork appearance of this false color image makes this nearly full view of our Moon's familiar nearside look very strange. The image was taken in 1992 by the Galileo spacecraft enroute to Jupiter.
The Red Spider Planetary Nebula
Oh what a tangled web a planetary nebula can weave. The Red Spider Planetary Nebula shows the complex structure that can result when a normal star ejects its outer gases and becomes a white dwarf star.
Earth's Richat Structure
What on Earth is that? The Richat Structure in the Sahara Desert of Mauritania is easily visible from space because it is nearly 50 kilometers across. Once thought to be an impact crater, the Richat Structure's flat middle and lack of shock-altered rock indicates otherwise.
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 nebulae 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.
The Barren Moon
The above photo, taken as the Apollo 17 astronauts orbited the Moon in 1972, depicts the stark lunar surface around the Eratosthenes and Copernicus craters. Many similar images of a Moon devoid of life are familiar to denizens of the space age.
Europa's Disconnected Surface
Jupiter's moon Europa is so exciting that the Galileo spacecraft orbiting Jupiter has now embarked on an extended mission to study it. Oceans that might exist beneath Europa's surface are thought to be one of the best places to look for life in our Solar System.
The Largest Rock Known
There, that faint dot in the center - that's the largest rock known. It is larger than every known asteroid, moon, and comet nucleus. It is larger than any other rocky planet. (Nobody knows...
NGC 5307: A Symmetric Planetary Nebula
Some stellar nebulae are strangely symmetric. For example, every major blob of gas visible on the upper left of NGC 5307 appears to have a counterpart on the lower right. This picture taken by the Hubble Space Telescope was released last week. NGC 5307 is an example of a planetary nebula with a spiral shape.
NGC 7009: The Saturn Nebula
The layers of the Saturn Nebula give a complex picture of how this planetary nebula was created. The above picture, taken in April 1996 and released last week, allows a better understanding of the mysterious process that transformed a low-mass star into a white dwarf star.
The Milky Way in Infrared
At night, from a dark location, part of the clear sky looks milky. This unusual swath of dim light is generally visible during any month and from any location. Until the invention of the telescope, nobody really knew what the "Milky Way" was.