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Alnitak and the Flame Nebula

Alnitak and the Flame Nebula

Copyright: Team ARO What lights up the Flame Nebula? Fifteen hundred light years away towards the constellation of Orion lies a nebula which, from its glow and dark dust lanes, appears, on the left, like a billowing fire. But fire, the rapid acquisition of oxygen, is not what makes this Flame glow. Rather the bright […]

When Black Holes Collide

Copyright: Simulating Extreme Spacetimes What happens when two black holes collide? This extreme scenario occurs in the centers of many merging galaxies and multiple star systems. The featured video shows a computer animation of the final stages of such a merger, while highlighting the gravitational lensing effects that would appear on a background starfield. The […]

Zodiacal Night

Zodiacal Night

Copyright: Jean-Francois Graffand An intense band of zodiacal light is captured in this serene mountain and night skyscape from April 7. The panoramic view was recorded after three hours of hiking from a vantage looking west after sunset across the Pyrenees in southern France. At 2838 meters altitude, Mont Valier is the tallest peak near […]

Messier 106

Messier 106

Copyright: Robert Gendler Close to the Great Bear (Ursa Major) and surrounded by the stars of the Hunting Dogs (Canes Venatici), this celestial wonder was discovered in 1781 by the metric French astronomer Pierre Mechain. Later, it was added to the catalog of his friend and colleague Charles Messier as M106. Modern deep telescopic views […]

3D Ingenuity

3D Ingenuity

Copyright: The multicolor, stereo imaging Mastcam-Z on the Perseverance rover zoomed in to captured this 3D close-up (get out your red/blue glasses) of the Mars Ingenuity helicopter on mission sol 45, April 5. That’s only a few sols before the technology demonstrating Ingenuity will attempt to fly in the thin martian atmosphere, making the first […]

Threads of NGC 1947

Threads of NGC 1947

Copyright: Found in far southern skies, deep within the boundaries of the constellation Dorado, NGC 1947 is some 40 million light-years away. In silhouette against starlight, obscuring lanes of cosmic dust thread across the peculiar galaxy’s bright central regions. Unlike the rotation of stars, gas, and dust tracing the arms of spiral galaxies, the motions […]

Mars and the Pleiades Beyond Vinegar Hill

Mars and the Pleiades Beyond Vinegar Hill

Copyright: Kristine Richer Is this just a lonely tree on an empty hill? To start, perhaps, but look beyond. There, a busy universe may wait to be discovered. First, physically, to the left of the tree, is the planet Mars. The red planet, which is the new home to NASA’s Perseverance rover, remains visible this […]

Veil Nebula: Wisps of an Exploded Star

Veil Nebula: Wisps of an Exploded Star

Copyright: Wisps like this are all that remain visible of a Milky Way star. About 7,000 years ago that star exploded in a supernova leaving the Veil Nebula. At the time, the expanding cloud was likely as bright as a crescent Moon, remaining visible for weeks to people living at the dawn of recorded history. […]

In, Through, and Beyond Saturn’s Rings

In, Through, and Beyond Saturn’s Rings

Copyright: Four moons are visible on the featured image — can you find them all? First — and farthest in the background — is Titan, the largest moon of Saturn and one of the larger moons in the Solar System. The dark feature across the top of this perpetually cloudy world is the north polar […]

Ingenuity on Sol 39

Ingenuity on Sol 39

Copyright: The Mars Ingenuity Helicopter, all four landing legs down, was captured here on sol 39 (March 30) slung beneath the belly of the Perseverance rover. The near ground level view is a mosaic of images from the WATSON camera on the rover’s SHERLOC robotic arm. Near the center of the frame the experimental helicopter […]

NGC 3521: Galaxy in a Bubble

NGC 3521: Galaxy in a Bubble

Copyright: Eric Benson Gorgeous spiral galaxy NGC 3521 is a mere 35 million light-years away, toward the constellation Leo. Relatively bright in planet Earth’s sky, NGC 3521 is easily visible in small telescopes but often overlooked by amateur imagers in favor of other Leo spiral galaxies, like M66 and M65. It’s hard to overlook in […]

Rocket Launch as Seen from the Space Station

Copyright: Have you ever seen a rocket launch — from space? A close inspection of the featured time-lapse video will reveal a rocket rising to Earth orbit as seen from the International Space Station (ISS). The Russian Soyuz-FG rocket was launched in November 2018 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carrying a Progress MS-10 (also […]

M87’s Central Black Hole in Polarized Light

M87’s Central Black Hole in Polarized Light

Copyright: To play on Carl Sagan’s famous words “If you wish to make black hole jets, you must first create magnetic fields.” The featured image represents the detected intrinsic spin direction (polarization) of radio waves. The polarizationi is produced by the powerful magnetic field surrounding the supermassive black hole at the center of elliptical galaxy […]

Red Sprite Lightning over the Andes

Red Sprite Lightning over the Andes

Copyright: Yuri BeletskyCarnegieLas Campanas ObservatoryTWAN What are those red filaments in the sky? They are a rarely seen form of lightning confirmed only about 30 years ago: red sprites. Recent research has shown that following a powerful positive cloud-to-ground lightning strike, red sprites may start as 100-meter balls of ionized air that shoot down from […]

M64: The Evil Eye Galaxy

M64: The Evil Eye Galaxy

Copyright: Who knows what evil lurks in the eyes of galaxies? The Hubble knows — or in the case of spiral galaxy M64 — is helping to find out. Messier 64, also known as the Evil Eye or Sleeping Beauty Galaxy, may seem to have evil in its eye because all of its stars rotate […]

SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free

SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free

Copyright: A spacesuit floated away from the International Space Station 15 years ago, but no investigation was conducted. Everyone knew that it was pushed by the space station crew. Dubbed Suitsat-1, the unneeded Russian Orlan spacesuit filled mostly with old clothes was fitted with a faint radio transmitter and released to orbit the Earth. The […]

Exploring the Antennae

Exploring the Antennae

Copyright: Bernard Miller Some 60 million light-years away in the southerly constellation Corvus, two large galaxies are colliding. Stars in the two galaxies, cataloged as NGC 4038 and NGC 4039, very rarely collide in the course of the ponderous cataclysm that lasts for hundreds of millions of years. But the galaxies’ large clouds of molecular […]

The Medusa Nebula

The Medusa Nebula

Copyright: Josep Drudis Braided and serpentine filaments of glowing gas suggest this nebula’s popular name, The Medusa Nebula. Also known as Abell 21, this Medusa is an old planetary nebula some 1,500 light-years away in the constellation Gemini. Like its mythological namesake, the nebula is associated with a dramatic transformation. The planetary nebula phase represents […]

Curiosity: Sol 3048

Curiosity: Sol 3048

Copyright: Before Perseverance there was Curiosity. In fact, the Curiosity rover accomplished the first sky crane maneuver touchdown on Mars on April 5, 2012. March 2, 2021 marked Curiosity’s 3,048th martian day operating on the surface of the Red Planet. This 360 degree panorama from sol 3048 is a mosaic of 149 frames from Curiosity’s […]

Aurorae and Lightning on Jupiter

Aurorae and Lightning on Jupiter

Copyright: Why does so much of Jupiter’s lightning occur near its poles? Similar to Earth, Jupiter experiences both aurorae and lightning. Different from Earth, though, Jupiter’s lightning usually occurs near its poles — while much of Earth’s lightning occurs near its equator. To help understand the difference, NASA’s Juno spacecraft, currently orbiting Jupiter, has observed […]

Mars over Duddo Stone Circle

Mars over Duddo Stone Circle

Copyright: Ged Kivlehan Why are these large stones here? One the more famous stone circles is the Duddo Five Stones of Northumberland, England. Set in the open near the top of a modest incline, a short hike across empty fields will bring you to unusual human -sized stones that are unlike anything surrounding them. The […]

From Auriga to Orion

From Auriga to Orion

Copyright: Alistair Symon What’s up in the sky from Auriga to Orion? Many of the famous stars and nebulas in this region were captured on 34 separate images, taking over 430 hours of exposure, and digitally combined to reveal the featured image. Starting on the far upper left, toward the constellation of Auriga (the Chariot […]

The Antikythera Mechanism

The Antikythera Mechanism

Copyright: No one knew that 2,000 years ago, the technology existed to build such a device. The Antikythera mechanism, pictured, is now widely regarded as the first computer. Found at the bottom of the sea aboard a decaying Greek ship, its complexity prompted decades of study, and even today some of its functions likely remain […]

The Leo Trio

The Leo Trio

Copyright: Francis Bozon This popular group leaps into the early evening sky around the March equinox and the northern hemisphere spring. Famous as the Leo Triplet, the three magnificent galaxies found in the prominent constellation Leo gather here in one astronomical field of view. Crowd pleasers when imaged with even modest telescopes, they can be […]

Central Lagoon in Infrared

Central Lagoon in Infrared

Copyright: Stars fill this infrared view, spanning 4 light-years across the center of the Lagoon Nebula. Visible light images show the glowing gas and obscuring dust clouds that dominate the scene. But this infrared image, constructed from Hubble Space Telescope data, peers closer to the heart of the active star-forming region revealing newborn stars scattered […]