Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)NGC 604: Giant Stellar Nursery
Scattered within this cavernous nebula, cataloged as NGC 604, are over 200 newly formed hot, massive, stars. At 1,500 light-years across, this expansive cloud of interstellar gas and dust is effectively a giant stellar nursery located some three million light-years distant in the spiral galaxy, M33.
Hyakutake: Comet Atmosphere
The atmosphere of a comet comes and goes. Approaching the sun, it swells as material from the icy cometary nucleus is warmed and evaporated by increasing sunlight. Immense but tenuous and fleeting, the inner atmosphere or inner "coma" of comet Hyakutake is seen in this false color picture.
Quasar in an Elliptical Galaxy
Where do quasars live? Quasars are the brightest objects in the universe, so bright they can be seen from across the universe. Observations continue to show that most quasars are surrounded by a relatively faint nebulous patch. Astronomers are trying to identify the nature of these patches.
Nabta: Older than Stonehenge
In the Sahara Desert in Egypt lie the oldest known astronomically aligned stones in the world: Nabta. Over one thousand years before the creation of Stonehenge, local herders built a stone circle and other structures on the shoreline of a lake that has long since dried up.
Return To Cydonia
Yesterday the Mars Global Surveyor project released a new close-up image of a portion of the Cydonia region on Mars. This cropped and processed version shows an area about 2 miles wide (the full...
A Face On Mars
This image, showing what looks to be a human face (above center) and other features of the Cydonia region on the Martian surface, was produced using data from NASA's Viking 1 orbiter in 1976.
The Pleiades star cluster is one of the jewels of the northern sky. To the unaided eye it appears as a lovely and tantalizing grouping of stars in the constellation of Taurus, while telescopic views reveal cluster stars surrounded by delicate blue wisps of dust-reflected starlight.
Mercury Astronauts and a Redstone
Space suited project Mercury astronauts John H. Glenn, Virgil I. Grissom, and Alan B. Shepard Jr. (left to right) are posing in front of a Redstone rocket in this vintage 1961 NASA publicity photo. Project Mercury was the first U.S. program designed to put humans in space.
Hen 1357: New Born Nebula
This Hubble Space Telescope picture shows Hen-1357, the youngest known planetary nebula. Graceful, gentle curves and symmetry suggest its popular name - The Stingray Nebula. Observations in the 1970s detected no nebular material, but this image from March 1996 clearly shows the Stingray's emerging bubbles and rings of shocked and ionized gas.
Have you seen an Iridium flare? Satellites in low Earth orbit reflect sunlight and are often visible gliding across early evening and predawn skies. But sun glints from Iridium commercial digital communications satellites are providing the most spectacular sightings.