Charon: Moon of Pluto

Astronomy Picture of the Day 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. 2023 June 3 Charon: Moon of Pluto Image Credit: NASA,Johns Hopkins Univ./APL,Southwest Research Institute,U.S. Naval Observatory Explanation: A darkened and mysterious north polar regionknown to some asMordor Macula caps this premier high-resolution view.Theportrait of Charon, Pluto's largest moon,was captured by New Horizons near the spacecraft's closestapproach on July 14, 2015.The combined blue, red,and infrared data was processed to enhance colorsand follow variations in Charon's surface propertieswith a resolution of about 2.9 kilometers (1.8 miles).A stunning image of Charon's Pluto-facing hemisphere, it alsofeatures a clear view of an apparentlymoon-girdling belt offractures and canyons that seems toseparate smooth southern plains from varied northern terrain.Charon is 1,214 kilometers (754 miles) across.That's about 1/10th the size of planet Earthbut a whopping 1/2 the diameter ofPlutoitself, and makes it the largest satellite relative to itsparent body in the Solar System.Still, the moon appears as a small bump at about the 1 o'clock positionon Pluto's disk in the grainy, negative,telescopic picture insetat upper left.That view was used by James Christy and Robert Harringtonat the U.S. Naval Observatory in...

Continue reading

Recycling Cassiopeia A

APOD: 2023 June 1 - Recycling Cassiopeia A 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. 2023 June 1 Recycling Cassiopeia A Image Credit: X-ray -NASA,CXC, SAO;Optical -NASA,STScI Explanation: Massive stars in our Milky Way Galaxy live spectacular lives. Collapsing from vast cosmic clouds, their nuclear furnacesignite and create heavy elements in their cores.After a few million years, theenriched material is blastedback into interstellar space where star formation can begin anew.The expanding debris cloud known as Cassiopeia A is an exampleof this final phase of the stellar life cycle.Light from the explosion which created this supernova remnantwould have been firstseen in planet Earth's skyabout 350 years ago,although it took that light about 11,000 years to reach us.This false-color image, composed of X-ray and optical image datafrom the Chandra X-ray Observatory and Hubble Space Telescope,shows the still hot filaments and knots in the remnant.It spans about 30 light-years at the estimated distance of Cassiopeia A.High-energy X-ray emission from specific elements has been color coded,silicon in red, sulfur in yellow, calcium in greenand iron in purple, to helpastronomers explorethe recycling of our galaxy'sstar stuff.Still expanding, the outer...

Continue reading

Messier 101

Astronomy Picture of the Day 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. 2023 June 2 Messier 101 Image Credit: NASA,ESA,CFHT,NOAO;Acknowledgement -K.Kuntz (GSFC),F.Bresolin (U.Hawaii),J.Trauger (JPL),J.Mould (NOAO),Y.-H.Chu (U. Illinois) Explanation: Big, beautiful spiral galaxy M101 is one of the last entries inCharles Messier'sfamous catalog, but definitely notone of the least.About 170,000 light-years across, this galaxy is enormous, almosttwice the size of our own Milky Way.M101 was also one of the originalspiral nebulaeobserved by Lord Rosse's large 19th century telescope, theLeviathanof Parsontown.Assembled from 51 exposures recorded by theHubble Space Telescopein the 20th and 21stcenturies, with additional data from ground based telescopes,this mosaic spans about 40,000 light-years across the central regionof M101 in one of the highest definitionspiral galaxy portraits ever released from Hubble.The sharp image shows stunning featuresof the galaxy's face-on disk of stars and dust along withbackground galaxies, some visible right through M101 itself.Also known as thePinwheel Galaxy, M101lies within the boundaries of the northern constellationUrsa Major, about 25 million light-years away. Tomorrow's picture: Portrait of Charon<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell...

Continue reading

Virgo Cluster Galaxies

APOD: 2023 May 26 - Virgo Cluster Galaxies 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. 2023 May 26 Virgo Cluster Galaxies Image Credit &Copyright: Abdullah Alharbi Explanation: Galaxies of the Virgo Clusterare scattered across this nearly 4 degree widetelescopic field of view.About 50 million light-years distant, the Virgo Cluster is theclosest large galaxy cluster to our own local galaxy group.Prominent here are Virgo's bright elliptical galaxiesMessier catalog,M87 at bottom center, and M84 and M86 (top to bottom)near top left.M84 and M86 are recognized as part ofMarkarian's Chain,a visually striking line-up of galaxies on theleft side of this frame.Near the middle of the chain lies an intriguing interacting pair of galaxies,NGC 4438 and NGC 4435,known to some as Markarian's Eyes.Of course giant elliptical galaxy M87dominates the Virgo cluster.It's the home of a super massive black hole,the first black hole ever imaged by planet Earth'sEvent Horizon Telescope. Tomorrow's picture: Crescent Neptune and Triton<| 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...

Continue reading

Crescent Neptune and Triton

Gliding through the outer

Cat s Eye Wide and Deep

APOD: 2023 May 25 - Cat s Eye Wide and Deep 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. 2023 May 25 Cat's Eye Wide and Deep Image Credit &Copyright:Jean-Fran├žois Bax,Guillaume Gruntz Explanation: The Cat'sEye Nebula (NGC 6543) is one of the best knownplanetary nebulae in the sky.Its morefamiliar outlines are seen in the brightercentral region ofthe nebula in this impressive wide-angle view.But this wide and deep image combiningdata from two telescopes also revealsits extremely faint outer halo.At an estimated distance of 3,000 light-years, thefaint outer halo is over 5 light-years across.Planetary nebulae have long been appreciated as a final phasein the life of a sun-like star.More recently, some planetary nebulae are found tohave halos likethis one, likely formed of material shrugged off duringearlier episodes in the star's evolution.While the planetary nebula phaseis thought to last for around 10,000 years,astronomers estimate the age of the outer filamentary portionsof this halo to be 50,000 to 90,000 years.Visible on the right, some 50 million light-years beyondthe watchful planetary nebula, lies spiral galaxy NGC 6552. Tomorrow's picture: Virgo Cluster Galaxies <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS|...

Continue reading

Virgo Cluster Galaxies

Astronomy Picture of the Day 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. 2023 May 26 Virgo Cluster Galaxies Image Credit &Copyright: Abdullah Alharbi Explanation: Galaxies of the Virgo Clusterare scattered across this nearly 4 degree widetelescopic field of view.About 50 million light-years distant, the Virgo Cluster is theclosest large galaxy cluster to our own local galaxy group.Prominent here are Virgo's bright elliptical galaxiesMessier catalog,M87 at bottom center, and M84 and M86 (top to bottom)near top left.M84 and M86 are recognized as part ofMarkarian's Chain,a visually striking line-up of galaxies on theleft side of this frame.Near the middle of the chain lies an intriguing interacting pair of galaxies,NGC 4438 and NGC 4435,known to some as Markarian's Eyes.Of course giant elliptical galaxy M87dominates the Virgo cluster.It's the home of a super massive black hole,the first black hole ever imaged by planet Earth'sEvent Horizon Telescope. Tomorrow's picture: Crescent Neptune and Triton<| 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....

Continue reading

Cat s Eye Wide and Deep

Astronomy Picture of the Day 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. 2023 May 25 Cat's Eye Wide and Deep Image Credit &Copyright:Jean-Fran├žois Bax,Guillaume Gruntz Explanation: The Cat'sEye Nebula (NGC 6543) is one of the best knownplanetary nebulae in the sky.Its morefamiliar outlines are seen in the brightercentral region ofthe nebula in this impressive wide-angle view.But this wide and deep image combiningdata from two telescopes also revealsits extremely faint outer halo.At an estimated distance of 3,000 light-years, thefaint outer halo is over 5 light-years across.Planetary nebulae have long been appreciated as a final phasein the life of a sun-like star.More recently, some planetary nebulae are found tohave halos likethis one, likely formed of material shrugged off duringearlier episodes in the star's evolution.While the planetary nebula phaseis thought to last for around 10,000 years,astronomers estimate the age of the outer filamentary portionsof this halo to be 50,000 to 90,000 years.Visible on the right, some 50 million light-years beyondthe watchful planetary nebula, lies spiral galaxy NGC 6552. Tomorrow's picture: Virgo Cluster Galaxies <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors...

Continue reading

Curly Spiral Galaxy M63

APOD: 2023 May 19 - Curly Spiral Galaxy M63 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. 2023 May 19 Curly Spiral Galaxy M63 Image Credit &Copyright: Sophie Paulin,Jens Unger,Jakob Sahner Explanation: A bright spiral galaxy of the northern sky,Messier 63is nearby,about 30 million light-years distant toward the loyal constellationCanes Venatici.Also cataloged as NGC 5055, the majesticisland universeis nearly 100,000 light-years across, about the sizeof our own Milky Way.Its bright coreand majesticspiral arms lend the galaxyits popular name, The Sunflower Galaxy.This exceptionally deep exposure also followsfaint, arcing star streams far into the galaxy'shalo.Extending nearly 180,000 light-years from the galactic center, the star streams are likely remnants oftidally disruptedsatellites of M63.Other satellite galaxies of M63 can be spotted inthe remarkable wide-field image,including faintdwarf galaxies,which could contribute to M63's star streams in the next few billionyears. Tomorrow's picture: Galileo's Europa<| 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.

Galileo s Europa

Astronomy Picture of the Day 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. 2023 May 20 Galileo's Europa Image Credit: NASA,JPL-Caltech,SETI Institute,Cynthia Phillips,Marty Valenti Explanation: Looping through the Jovian system in the late 1990s, theGalileo spacecraftrecorded stunning views of Europa and uncoveredevidence that the moon's icy surface likely hidesa deep, global ocean.Galileo's Europa image data has beenremastered here, with improved calibrations to produce acolor image approximating what the human eye might see.Europa's long curving fractureshintat the subsurface liquid water. The tidal flexingthe large moon experiences in its elliptical orbitaround Jupiter supplies the energy to keep the ocean liquid.But moretantalizing is the possibilitythat even in theabsence of sunlight that process could also supply the energy tosupport life,making Europaone of the best places to look for lifebeyond Earth.What kind of life could thrive in a deep, dark, subsurface ocean?Consider planet Earth's ownextreme shrimp. Tomorrow's picture: almost alien<| 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.

WR 134 Ring Nebula

APOD: 2023 May 18 - WR 134 Ring Nebula 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. 2023 May 18 WR 134 Ring Nebula Image Credit &Copyright:Craig Stocks Explanation: Made with narrowband filters, thiscosmic snapshotcovers a field of view aboutthe size of the full Moon within theboundaries of the constellation Cygnus.It highlights the bright edge of a ring-like nebula traced by theglow of ionizedsulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen gas.Embedded in the region's interstellarclouds of gas and dust,the complex, glowing arcs are sections of bubbles or shells ofmaterial swept up by the wind fromWolf-Rayet star WR 134,brightest star near the center of the frame.Distance estimates put WR 134 about 6,000 light-years away, makingthe frame over 50 light-years across.Sheddingtheir outer envelopes in powerful stellar winds,massive Wolf-Rayet stars have burned through their nuclear fuel at aprodigiousrateand end this final phase of massive star evolution ina spectacular supernova explosion.The stellar winds and final supernovae enrich the interstellarmaterial with heavy elementsto be incorporated infuture generations of stars. Tomorrow's picture: curly spiral galaxy <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry...

Continue reading

Curly Spiral Galaxy M63

Astronomy Picture of the Day 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. 2023 May 19 Curly Spiral Galaxy M63 Image Credit &Copyright: Sophie Paulin,Jens Unger,Jakob Sahner Explanation: A bright spiral galaxy of the northern sky,Messier 63is nearby,about 30 million light-years distant toward the loyal constellationCanes Venatici.Also cataloged as NGC 5055, the majesticisland universeis nearly 100,000 light-years across, about the sizeof our own Milky Way.Its bright coreand majesticspiral arms lend the galaxyits popular name, The Sunflower Galaxy.This exceptionally deep exposure also followsfaint, arcing star streams far into the galaxy'shalo.Extending nearly 180,000 light-years from the galactic center, the star streams are likely remnants oftidally disruptedsatellites of M63.Other satellite galaxies of M63 can be spotted inthe remarkable wide-field image,including faintdwarf galaxies,which could contribute to M63's star streams in the next few billionyears. Tomorrow's picture: Galileo's Europa<| 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.

WR 134 Ring Nebula

Astronomy Picture of the Day 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. 2023 May 18 WR 134 Ring Nebula Image Credit &Copyright:Craig Stocks Explanation: Made with narrowband filters, thiscosmic snapshotcovers a field of view aboutthe size of the full Moon within theboundaries of the constellation Cygnus.It highlights the bright edge of a ring-like nebula traced by theglow of ionizedsulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen gas.Embedded in the region's interstellarclouds of gas and dust,the complex, glowing arcs are sections of bubbles or shells ofmaterial swept up by the wind fromWolf-Rayet star WR 134,brightest star near the center of the frame.Distance estimates put WR 134 about 6,000 light-years away, makingthe frame over 50 light-years across.Sheddingtheir outer envelopes in powerful stellar winds,massive Wolf-Rayet stars have burned through their nuclear fuel at aprodigiousrateand end this final phase of massive star evolution ina spectacular supernova explosion.The stellar winds and final supernovae enrich the interstellarmaterial with heavy elementsto be incorporated infuture generations of stars. Tomorrow's picture: curly spiral galaxy <| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA Official: Phillip...

Continue reading

Apollo 17: The Crescent Earth

Astronomy Picture of the Day 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. 2023 May 13 Apollo 17: The Crescent Earth Image Credit: Apollo 17,NASA;Restoration -Toby Ord Explanation: Our fair planetsports a curved, sunlit crescentagainst the black backdrop of space in this stunning photograph.From the unfamiliar perspective,the Earth is smalland, like atelescopic image of a distant planet,the entire horizon is completely within the field of view.Enjoyed bycrews on boardthe International Space Station,only much closer views of the planet are possible from low Earth orbit.Orbiting the planet once every 90 minutes, a spectacle of clouds, oceans,and continentsscrolls beneath themwith the partial arc of the planet's edge in the distance.But this digitally restored imagepresents a view so faronly achieved by 24 humans,Apollo astronautswho traveled to the Moon and back again between 1968 and 1972.The original photograph,AS17-152-23420,was taken by the homeward bound crew ofApollo 17, on December 17, 1972.For now it is the last picture of Earth from thisplanetary perspective taken by human hands. Tomorrow's picture: free space<| Archive| Submissions | Index| Search| Calendar| RSS| Education| About APOD| Discuss| > Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff(MTU) &Jerry Bonnell (UMCP)NASA...

Continue reading

Halley Dust, Mars Dust, and Milky Way

APOD: 2023 May 12 - Halley Dust, Mars Dust, and Milky Way 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. 2023 May 12 Halley Dust, Mars Dust, and Milky Way Image Credit &Copyright:Petr Horalek /Institute of Physics in Opava Explanation: Grains of cosmic duststreaked through night skies in early May.Swept up as planet Earth plowed through thedebris streams left behind byperiodic Comet Halley,the annual meteor shower is known as the Eta Aquarids.This year, the Eta Aquarids peak was visually hampered byMay's bright Full Moon, though.But early morning hours surrounding last May's shower of Halley dust werefree of moonlight interference.In exposures recorded betweenApril 28 and May 8 in 2022,this composited imageshows nearly 90 Eta Aquarid meteors streaking from the shower'sradiant in Aquarius over San Pedro de Atacama, Chile.The central Milky Way arcs above inthe southern hemisphere's predawn skies.The faint band of light rising from the horizon is Zodiacal light,caused by dust scattering sunlight near our Solar System's ecliptic plane.Along the ecliptic and entrained in the Zodiacal gloware the bright planetsVenus, Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn. Of course Mars itselfhas recently been found to be a likely sourceof...

Continue reading