Astronomy Picture Of the Day (APOD)The Lyman Alpha Forest
We live in a forest. Strewn throughout the universe are "trees" of hydrogen gas that absorb light from distant objects. These gas clouds leave numerous absorption lines in a distant quasar's spectra, together called the Lyman-alpha forest.
The First Lunar Observatory
The first, and so far only, lunar astronomical observatory was deployed by the Apollo 16 crew in 1972. The Far Ultraviolet Camera / Spectrograph used a 3-inch diameter Schmidt telescope to photograph the Earth, nebulae, star clusters, and the Large Magellanic Cloud.
X Ray Cygnus A
Amazingly detailed, this false-color x-ray image is centered on the galaxy Cygnus A. Recorded by the orbiting Chandra Observatory, Cygnus A is seen here as a spectacular high energy x-ray source. But it is actually more famous at the low energy end of the electromagnetic spectrum as one of the brightest celestial radio sources.
The Cosmic X-Ray Background
Early on, x-ray satellites revealed a surprising cosmic background glow of x-rays and astronomers have struggled to understand its origin. Now, peering through a hole in the obscuring gas and dust...
With brilliant Venus above the western horizon at sunset and Jupiter and Saturn high in the east by early evening, November's night sky is filled with bright planets. October's sky featured bright planets as well and, triggered by the active Sun, some lovely auroral displays.
The Gum Nebula Supernova Remnant
Because the Gum Nebula is the closest supernova remnant, it is actually hard to see. Spanning 40 degrees across the sky, the nebula is so large and faint it is easily lost in the din of a bright and complex background.
Heaven on Earth
If sometimes it appears that the entire Milky Way Galaxy is raining down on your head, do not despair. It happens twice a day. As the Sun rises in the East, wonders of the night sky become less bright than the sunlight scattered by our own Earth's atmosphere, and so fade from view.
Jupiter Swallows Comet Shoemaker Levy 9
What happens when a comet encounters a planet? If the planet has a rocky surface, a huge impact feature will form. A giant planet like Jupiter, however, is mostly gas. When Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 struck Jupiter in 1994, each piece was swallowed into the vast Jovian atmosphere.
Apollo 12: Self-Portrait
Is it art? In November of 1969, Apollo 12 astronaut-photographer Charles "Pete" Conrad recorded this masterpiece while documenting colleague Alan Bean's lunar soil collection activities on the Oceanus Procellarum. The image is dramatic and stark. Bean is faceless.
New Moons For Saturn
Which planet has the most moons? For now, it's Saturn. Four newly discovered satellites bring the ringed planet's total to twenty-two, just edging out Uranus' twenty-one for the most known moons in the solar system. Of course, the newfound Saturnian satellites are not large and photogenic.