NGC 1566: The Spanish Dancer Spiral Galaxy

APOD: 2022 January 14 - NGC 1566: The Spanish Dancer Spiral Galaxy Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 14 NGC 1566: The Spanish Dancer Spiral Galaxy Image Credit &Copyright:Mark HansonandMike Selby Explanation: An island universeof billions of stars,NGC 1566 lies about 60 million light-years away in the southernconstellationDorado.Popularly known as the Spanish Dancer galaxy, it's seen face-on from ourMilky Way perspective.A gorgeous grand design spiral, this galaxy'stwo graceful spiral arms span over 100,000 light-years,traced by bright blue star clusters,pinkish starforming regions, and swirlingcosmic dustlanes.NGC 1566'sflaring center makes the spiral one of the closest and brightest Seyfertgalaxies.It likely houses a central supermassive black hole wreaking havoc on surrounding stars, gas, and dust.In this sharp southern galaxy portrait,the spiky stars lie well within the Milky Way. Tomorrow's picture: light-weekend<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA Official: Phillip NewmanSpecific rights apply.NASA WebPrivacy Policy and Important NoticesA service of:ASD atNASA /GSFC& Michigan Tech. U.

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Supernova Remnant Simeis 147

APOD: 2022 January 13 - Supernova Remnant Simeis 147 Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 13 Supernova Remnant Simeis 147 Image Credit &Copyright:Jason Dain Explanation: It's easy to get lost following the intricate, looping, twisting filaments inthis detailed imageofsupernova remnant Simeis 147.Also cataloged as Sharpless 2-240 it goes by the popular nickname,the Spaghetti Nebula.Seen towardthe boundary of the constellations Taurus and Auriga,it covers nearly 3 degrees or 6 full moons on the sky.That's about 150 light-years atthe stellar debris cloud's estimated distance of 3,000 light-years.This composite includes image data taken through narrow-band filterswhere reddish emission from ionized hydrogen atoms and doubly ionizedoxygen atoms in faint blue-green hues trace theshocked, glowing gas.The supernova remnant has an estimated age of about 40,000years, meaning light from the massive stellar explosion firstreached Earth 40,000 years ago.But the expanding remnant is not the only aftermath.The cosmic catastrophealso left behinda spinning neutron star or pulsar,all that remains of the original star's core. Tomorrow's picture: pixels in space<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA...

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Comet Leonard Closeup from Australia

APOD: 2022 January 12 - Comet Leonard Closeup from Australia Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 12 Comet Leonard Closeup from Australia Image Credit & Copyright: Blake Estes (itelescope.net) Explanation: What does Comet Leonard look like up close?Although we can't go there, imaging the comet's coma and inner tails through a small telescope gives us a good idea. As the name implies, the ion tail is made of ionized gas -- gas energized by ultraviolet light from the Sun and pushed outward by the solar wind. The solar wind is quite structured and sculpted by the Sun's complex and ever changing magnetic field.The effect of the variable solar wind combined with different gas jets venting from the comet's nucleus accounts for the tail's complex structure. Following the wind, structure in Comet Leonard's tail can be seen to move outward from the Sun even alter its wavy appearance over time. The blue color of the ion tail is dominated by recombining carbon monoxide molecules, while the green color of the coma surrounding the head of the comet is created mostly by a...

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Orions Belt Region in Gas and Dust

APOD: 2022 January 11 - Orions Belt Region in Gas and Dust Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 11 Orion's Belt Region in Gas and Dust Image Credit & Copyright: Matt Harbison(Space4Everybody),Marathon Remote Imaging Observatory Explanation: You may have seen Orion's belt before -- but not like this.The three bright stars across this image are, from left to right, Mintaka, Alnilam, and Alnitak: the iconic belt stars of Orion.The rest of the stars in the frame have been digitally removed to highlight the surrounding clouds of glowing gas and dark dust.Some of these clouds have intriguing shapes, including the Horsehead and Flame Nebulas, both near Alnitak on the lower right. This deep image, taken last month from the Marathon Skypark and Observatory inMarathon, Texas, USA, spans about 5 degrees, required about 20 hours of exposure, and was processed to reveal the gas and dust that we would really see if we were much closer.The famous Orion Nebula is off to the upper right of this colorful field. The entire region lies only about 1,500 light-years distant and so is one of...

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Comet Leonards Tail Wag

APOD: 2022 January 10 - Comet Leonards Tail Wag Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. Comet Leonard's Tail Wag Image Credit: NASA, NRL, STEREO-A; Processing: B. Gallagher Explanation: Why does Comet Leonard's tail wag?The featured time-lapse video shows the ion tail of Comet C/2021 A1 (Leonard) as it changed over ten days early last month. The video was taken by NASA's Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory-Ahead (STEREO-A) spacecraft that co-orbits the Sun at roughly the same distance as the Earth.Each image in this 29-degree field was subtracted from following image to create frames that highlight differences.The video clearly shows Comet Leonard's long ion tail extending, wagging, and otherwise being blown around by the solar wind -- a stream of fast-moving ions that stream out from the Sun. Since the video was taken, Comet Leonard continued plunging toward the Sun, reached its closest approach to the Sun between the orbits of Mercury and Venus, survived this closest approach without breaking apart, and is now fading as heads out of our Solar System. Tuesday over Zoom: APOD editor to present the Best APOD Space Images of...

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Hubbles Jupiter and the Shrinking Great Red Spot

APOD: 2022 January 9 - Hubbles Jupiter and the Shrinking Great Red Spot Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 9 Hubble's Jupiter and the Shrinking Great Red Spot Image Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble, OPAL Program, STScI; Processing: Karol Masztalerz Explanation: What will become of Jupiter's Great Red Spot? Gas giant Jupiter is the solar system'slargest world with about 320 times the massof planet Earth.Jupiter is home to one of the largest and longest lasting storm systems known,the Great Red Spot (GRS), visible to the left.The GRS is so large it could swallow Earth, although it has been shrinking. Comparison with historical notes indicate that the storm spans only about one third of the exposed surface area it had 150 years ago.NASA's Outer Planets Atmospheres Legacy (OPAL) program has been monitoring the storm more recently using the Hubble Space Telescope.The featured Hubble OPAL image shows Jupiter as it appeared in 2016, processed in a way that makes red hues appear quite vibrant.Modern GRS data indicate that the storm continues to constrict its surface area, but is also becoming slightly taller, vertically. No...

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Quadrantids of the North

APOD: 2022 January 8 - Quadrantids of the North Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 8 Quadrantids of the North Image Credit &Copyright:Cheng Luo Explanation: Named for aforgottenconstellation, theQuadrantid Meteor Showerputs on an annual show for planet Earth's northern hemisphere skygazers.The shower's radiant on the skylies within the old, astronomically obsolete constellationQuadransMuralis.That location is not far from the Big Dipper,at the boundaries of the modern constellations Bootes and Draco.In fact north star Polaris is just below center in this frame andthe Big Dipper asterism (known to some asthe Plough) is above it,with the meteor shower radiant to the right.Pointing back toward the radiant,Quadrantid meteors streak through the night in the panoramicskyscape, a composite of images taken in the hours aroundthe shower's peak on January 4, 2022.Arrayed in the foreground are radio telescopes of theChinese Spectral Radioheliograph,Mingantu Observing Station, Inner Mongolia, China.A likely source of the dust stream that producesQuadrantid meteors was identifiedin 2003as an asteroid. Status Updates: Deploying the James Webb Space Telescope Tomorrow's picture: shrinking red spot<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors...

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Ecstatic Solar Eclipse

A male Adelie penguin performed this Ecstatic Vocalization in

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The Last Days of Venus as the Evening Star

The Last Days of Venus as the Evening Star

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A Year of Sunrises

APOD: 2022 January 5 - A Year of Sunrises Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 5 A Year of Sunrises Image Credit & Copyright: Luca Vanzella Explanation: Does the Sun always rise in the same direction? No. As the months change, the direction toward the rising Sun changes, too. The featured image shows the direction of sunrise every month during 2021 as seen from the city of Edmonton, Alberta,Canada.The camera in the image is always facing due east, with north toward the left and south toward the right. As shown in an accompanying video, the top image was taken in 2020 December, while the bottom image was captured in 2021 December, making 13 images in total.Although the Sun always rises in the east in general, it rises furthest to the south of east near the December solstice, and furthest north of east near the June solstice.In many countries, the December Solstice is considered an official change in season: for example the first day of winter in the North. Solar heating and stored energy in the Earth's surface and atmosphere are near...

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Moons Beyond Rings at Saturn

APOD: 2022 January 4 - Moons Beyond Rings at Saturn Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 4 Moons Beyond Rings at Saturn Image Credit: NASA, ESA, JPL, Cassini Imaging Team Explanation: What's happened to that moon of Saturn?Nothing -- Saturn's moon Rhea is just partly hidden behind Saturn's rings.In 2010, the robotic Cassini spacecraft then orbiting Saturn took this narrow-angle view looking across theSolar System's mostfamous rings.Rings visible in the foreground include the thinF ring on the outside and the much widerA and B rings just interior to it.Although it seems to be hoveringover the rings, Saturn's moonJanus is actually far behind them. Janus is one ofSaturn's smallermoonsand measures only about 180 kilometers across.Farther out from the camera is the heavily crateredRhea, a much larger moonmeasuring 1,500 kilometers across.The top of Rhea is visible only throughgaps in the rings.After more than a decade of exploration and discovery, the Cassini spacecraft ran low on fuel in 2017 and was directed to enter Saturn's atmosphere, where it surely melted. Explore Your Universe: Random APOD Generator Tomorrow's picture: a year of sunrises <| Archive|...

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Comet Leonards Long Tail

You couldn't see Comet Leonard’s

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Quadruple Lunar Halo Over Winter Road

APOD: 2022 January 2 - Quadruple Lunar Halo Over Winter Road Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 2 Quadruple Lunar Halo Over Winter Road Image Credit & Copyright: Dani Caxete Explanation: Sometimes falling ice crystals make the atmosphere into a giant lens causing arcs and halos to appear around the Sun or Moon.One Saturday night in 2012 was just such a time nearMadrid,Spain,where a winter sky displayed not only a bright Moon but four rare lunar halos. The brightest object, near the top of the featured image, is the Moon.Light from the Moonrefracts through tumbling hexagonal ice crystals into a somewhat rare22-degree haloseen surrounding the Moon.Elongating the 22-degree arc horizontally is a more rare circumscribed halo caused by column ice crystals.Even more rare, some moonlight refracts through more distant tumbling ice crystals to form a (third)rainbow-like arc 46 degrees from the Moon and appearing here just above a picturesque winter landscape.Furthermore, part of a whole 46-degree circular halo is also visible, so that an extremely rare -- especially for the Moon -- quadruple halo was captured.Far in the background is a...

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The Full Moon of 2021

APOD: 2022 January 1 - The Full Moon of 2021 Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2022 January 1 The Full Moon of 2021 Image Credit &Copyright:Soumyadeep Mukherjee Explanation: Every Full Moon of 2021 shines in this year-spanning astrophoto project,a composite portrait ofthe familiar lunar nearside at each brightestlunar phase.Arranged by moonth,the year progresses in stripes beginning at the top.Taken with the same camera and lens the stripes are from Full Moonimages all combined at the same pixel scale.The stripes still looked mismatched, but they showthat the Full Moon's angular size changes throughout the yeardepending on itsdistance from Kolkata, India, planet Earth.The calendar month,a full moon name, distance in kilometers, and angularsize is indicated for each stripe.Angular size is given in minutes of arc corresponding to 1/60th of a degree.The largest Full Moon isnear a perigee or closest approachin May.The smallest isnear an apogee,the most distant Full Moon in December.Of course the full moons ofMay and Novemberalso slid into Earth's shadowduring 2021's two lunar eclipses. Tomorrow's picture: bright moon halos<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors...

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JWST on the Road to L2

APOD: 2021 December 31 - JWST on the Road to L2 Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 December 31 JWST on the Road to L2 Image Credit &Copyright:Malcolm Park(North York Astronomical Association) Explanation: This timelapse gif tracks theJames Webb Space Telescope asit streaks across the stars of Orion on its journey to a destinationbeyond the Moon.Recorded on December 28, 12 consecutive exposures each 10 minutes longwere aligned and combined with a subsequent color image of the background starsto create the animation.About 2.5 days after its December 25 launch, JWST cruised pastthe altitudeof the Moon's orbit as it climbed up the gravity ridgefrom Earth to reach a halo orbit around L2, anEarth-Sun Lagrange point.Lagrange points are convenient locations in space wherethe combined gravitational attraction of one massive body (Earth)orbiting another massive body (Sun)is in balance with the centripetal force needed tomove along with them.So much smaller masses, like spacecraft, will tend to staythere.One of 5 Lagrange points, L2 is about 1.5 million kilometers from Earthdirectly along the Earth-Sun line.JWST will arrive at L2 on January 23, 29 days after launch.While relaxing in Earth's...

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The Further Tail of Comet Leonard

APOD: 2021 December 30 - The Further Tail of Comet Leonard Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 December 30 The Further Tail of Comet Leonard Image Credit &Copyright:Daniele Gasparri Explanation: Comet Leonard, brightest comet of 2021,is at the lower left of these two panelscaptured on December 29 in dark Atacama desert skies.Heading for its perihelion on January 3Comet Leonard's visible tailhas grown.Stacked exposures with a wide angle lens(also displayed in a reversed B/W scheme for contrast),trace the complicated ion tail for an amazing 60 degrees, withbright Jupiter shining near the horizon at lower right.Material vaporizingfrom Comet Leonard's nucleus,a mass of dust, rock, and ices about 1 kilometer across,has produced the long tail of ionized gas fluorescing in the sunlight.Likely flares on thecomet's nucleusand buffeting by magnetic fields and the solar wind in recent weekshave resulted in the tail's irregularpinched and twisted appearance.Still days from its closest approach to the Sun,Comet Leonard's activityshould continue.The comet issouth of the Solar System'secliptic plane as it sweeps through the southern constellation Microscopium. Tomorrow's picture: L2 road trip<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About...

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Giant Storms and High Clouds on Jupiter

APOD: 2021 December 29 - Giant Storms and High Clouds on Jupiter Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 December 29 Giant Storms and High Clouds on Jupiter Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS;Processing & License:Kevin M. Gill Explanation: What and where are these large ovals?They are rotating storm clouds on Jupiter imaged last month by NASA's Juno spacecraft.In general, higher clouds are lighter in color, and the lightest clouds visible are the relatively small clouds that dot the lower oval.At 50 kilometers across, however, even these light clouds are not small. They are so high up that they cast shadows on the swirling oval below.The featured image has been processed to enhance color and contrast.Large ovals are usually regions of high pressure that span over 1000 kilometers and can last for years.The largest oval on Jupiter is the Great Red Spot (not pictured), which has lasted for at least hundreds of years.Studying cloud dynamics on Jupiter with Juno images enables a better understanding of dangerous typhoons and hurricanes on Earth. Follow APOD in English on: Facebook, Instagram, Podcast,Reddit, or Twitter Tomorrow's picture: farther along <|...

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Sun Halo over Sweden

APOD: 2021 December 28 - Sun Halo over Sweden Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. Sun Halo over Sweden Video Credit & Copyright: Håkan Hammar (Vemdalen Ski Resort, SkiStar) Explanation: What's happened to the Sun? Sometimes it looks like the Sun is being viewed through a giant lens. In the featured video, however, there are actually millions of tiny lenses: ice crystals. Water may freeze in the atmosphere into small, flat, six-sided, ice crystals. As these crystals flutter to the ground, much time is spent with their faces flat and parallel to the ground. An observer may find themselves in the same plane as many of the falling ice crystals near sunrise or sunset. During this alignment, each crystal can act like a miniature lens, refracting sunlight into our view and creating phenomena like parhelia, the technical term for sundogs. The featured video was taken in late 2017 on the side of a ski hill at the Vemdalen Ski Resort in central Sweden.Visible in the center is the most direct image of the Sun, while two bright sundogs glow prominently from both the...

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Comet Leonard behind JWST Launch Plume

APOD: 2021 December 27 - Comet Leonard behind JWST Launch Plume Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 December 27 Comet Leonard behind JWST Launch Plume Image Credit & Copyright: Matipon Tangmatitham (NARIT) Explanation: Which one of these two streaks is a comet?Although they both have comet-like features, the lower streak is the only real comet.This lower streak shows the coma and tail of Comet Leonard, a city-sized block of rocky ice that is passing through the inner Solar System as it continues its looping orbit around the Sun. Comet Leonard has recently passed its closest to both the Earth and Venus and will round the Sun next week. The comet, still visible to the unaided eye, has developed a long and changing tail in recent weeks. In contrast, the upper streak is the launch plume of the Ariane V rocket that lifted the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) off the Earth two days ago.The featured single-exposure image was taken from Thailand, and the foreground spire is atop a pagoda in Doi Inthanon National Park.JWST, NASA's largest and most powerful space telescope so...

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James Webb Space Telescope over Earth

APOD: 2021 December 26 - James Webb Space Telescope over Earth Discover the cosmos!Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe isfeatured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2021 December 26 James Webb Space Telescope over Earth Image Credit: Arianespace, ESA, NASA, CSA, CNES Explanation: There's a big new telescope in space.This one, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), not only has a mirror over five times larger than Hubble's in area, but can see better in infrared light.The featured picture shows JWST high above the Earth just after being released by the upper stage of an Ariane V rocket, launched yesterday from French Guiana.Over the next month, JWST will move out near the Sun-Earth L2 point where it will co-orbit the Sun with the Earth.During this time and for the next five months, JWST will unravel its segmented mirror and an array of sophisticated scientific instruments -- and test them.If all goes well, JWST will start examining galaxies across the universe and planets orbiting stars across our Milky Way Galaxy in the summer of 2022. APOD Gallery: Webb Space Telescope Launch Tomorrow's picture: comet webb <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS|...

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