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Lynds Dark Nebula 1251

Copyright: Long Xin Stars are forming in Lynds Dark Nebula (LDN) 1251. About 1,000 light-years away and drifting above the plane of our Milky Way galaxy, LDN 1251 is also less appetizingly known as “The Rotten Fish Nebula.” The dusty molecular cloud is part of a complex of dark nebulae mapped toward the Cepheus flare […]

Hubble’s NGC 1546

Copyright: Returning to science operations on June 14, the Hubble Space Telescope used its new pointing mode to capture this sharp image of spiral galaxy NGC 1546. A member of the Dorado galaxy group, the island universe lies a mere 50 million light-years away. The galactic disk of NGC 1546 is tilted to our line-of-sight, […]

Sandy and the Moon Halo

Copyright: Marcella Giulia Pace Last April’s Full Moon shines through high clouds near the horizon, casting shadows in this garden-at-night skyscape. Along with canine sentinel Sandy watching the garden gate, the wide-angle snapshot also captured the bright Moon’s 22 degree ice halo. But June’s bright Full Moon will cast shadows too. This month, the Moon’s […]

NGC 6188: Dragons of Ara

Copyright: Carlos Taylor Do dragons fight on the altar of the sky? Although it might appear that way, these dragons are illusions made of thin gas and dust. The emission nebula NGC 6188, home to the glowing clouds, is found about 4,000 light years away near the edge of a large molecular cloud, unseen at […]

Gigantic Jets over Himalayan Mountains

Copyright: Li Xuanhua Yes, but can your thunderstorm do this? Pictured here are gigantic jets shooting up from a thunderstorm last week toward the Himalayan Mountains in China and Bhutan. The composite image captured four long jets that occurred only minutes apart. Gigantic jets, documented only in this century, are a type of lightning discharge […]

Ou4: The Giant Squid Nebula

Copyright: Alex Linde Squids on Earth aren’t this big. This mysterious squid-like cosmic cloud spans nearly three full moons on planet Earth’s sky. Discovered in 2011 by French astro-imager Nicolas Outters, the Squid Nebula’s bipolar shape is distinguished here by the telltale blue emission from doubly ionized oxygen atoms. Though apparently surrounded by the reddish […]

Animation: Black Hole Destroys Star

Copyright: What happens if a star gets too close to a black hole? The black hole can rip it apart — but how? It’s not the high gravitational attraction itself that’s the problem — it’s the difference in gravitational pull across the star that creates the destruction. In the featured animated video illustrating this disintegration, […]

Prominences and Filaments on the Active Sun

Copyright: solar cycle 25 This colorized and sharpened image of the Sun is composed of frames recording emission from hydrogen atoms in the solar chromosphere on May 15. Approaching the maximum of solar cycle 25, a multitude of active regions and twisting, snake-like solar filaments are seen to sprawl across the surface of the active […]

RCW 85

Copyright: Martin Pugh From the 1960 astronomical catalog of Rodgers, Campbell and Whiteoak, emission region RCW 85 shines in southern night skies between bright stars Alpha and Beta Centauri. About 5,000 light years distant, the hazy interstellar cloud of glowing hydrogen gas and dust is faint. But detailed structures along well-defined rims within RCW 85 […]

Messier 66 Close Up

Copyright: Big, beautiful spiral galaxy Messier 66 lies a mere 35 million light-years away. The gorgeous island universe is about 100 thousand light-years across, similar in size to the Milky Way. This Hubble Space Telescope close-up view spans a region about 30,000 light-years wide around the galactic core. It shows the galaxy’s disk dramatically inclined […]

Aurora over Karkonosze Mountains

Copyright: Daniel Koszela It was the first time ever. At least, the first time this photographer had ever seen aurora from his home mountains. And what a spectacular aurora it was. The Karkonosze Mountains in Poland are usually too far south to see any auroras. But on the amazing night of May 10 – 11, […]

Colorful Stars and Clouds near Rho Ophiuchi

Copyright: Craig Stocks Why is the sky near Antares and Rho Ophiuchi so colorful, yet dusty? The colors result from a mixture of objects and processes. Fine dust — illuminated by starlight — produces blue reflection nebulae. Gaseous clouds whose atoms are excited by ultraviolet starlight produce reddish emission nebulae. Backlit dust clouds block starlight […]

Sh2-132: The Lion Nebula

Copyright: Imran Badr; Text: Natalia Lewandowska (SUNY Oswego) Is the Lion Nebula the real ruler of the constellation Cepheus? This powerful feline appearing nebula is powered by two massive stars, each with a mass over 20 times greater than our Sun. Formed from shells of ionized gas that have expanded, the nebula’s energetic matter not […]

How to Identify that Light in the Sky

Copyright: HK (The League of Lost Causes) What is that light in the sky? The answer to one of humanity’s more common questions may emerge from a few quick observations. For example — is it moving or blinking? If so, and if you live near a city, the answer is typically an airplane, since planes […]

Pandora’s Cluster of Galaxies

Copyright: This deep field mosaicked image presents a stunning view of galaxy cluster Abell 2744 recorded by the James Webb Space Telescope’s NIRCam. Also dubbed Pandora’s Cluster, Abell 2744 itself appears to be a ponderous merger of three different massive galaxy clusters. It lies some 3.5 billion light-years away, toward the constellation Sculptor. Dominated by […]