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Colors of the Moon

Colors of the Moon

Copyright: Marcella Giulia Pace What color is the Moon? It depends on the night. Outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, the dark Moon, which shines by reflected sunlight, appears a magnificently brown-tinged gray. Viewed from inside the Earth’s atmosphere, though, the moon can appear quite different. The featured image highlights a collection of apparent colors of […]

Ice Halos by Moonlight

Ice Halos by Moonlight

Copyright: Alan Dyer An almost full moon on April 15 brought these luminous apparitions to a northern spring night over Alberta Canada. On that night, bright moonlight refracted and reflected by hexagonal ice crystals in high clouds created a complex of halos and arcs more commonly seen by sunlight in daytime skies. While the colors […]

The Milky Way’s Black Hole

The Milky Way’s Black Hole

Copyright: There’s a black hole at the center of the Milky Way. Stars are observed to orbit a very massive and compact object there known as Sgr A* (say “sadge-ay-star”). But this just released radio image (inset) from planet Earth’s Event Horizon Telescope is the first direct evidence of the Milky Way’s central black hole. […]

Young Stars of NGC 346

Young Stars of NGC 346

Copyright: The massive stars of NGC 346 are short lived, but very energetic. The star cluster is embedded in the largest star forming region in the Small Magellanic Cloud, some 210,000 light-years distant. Their winds and radiation sweep out an interstellar cavern in the gas and dust cloud about 200 light-years across, triggering star formation […]

Gravity’s Grin

Gravity’s Grin

Copyright: Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity, published over 100 years ago, predicted the phenomenon of gravitational lensing. And that’s what gives these distant galaxies such a whimsical appearance, seen through the looking glass of X-ray and optical image data from the Chandra and Hubble space telescopes. Nicknamed the Cheshire Cat galaxy group, the group’s […]

NGC 6334: The Cat’s Paw Nebula

NGC 6334: The Cat’s Paw Nebula

Copyright: Stefan Steve Bemmerl Nebulas are perhaps as famous for being identified with familiar shapes as perhaps cats are for getting into trouble. Still, no known cat could have created the vast Cat’s Paw Nebula visible toward the constellation of the Scorpion (Scorpius. At 5,500 light years distant, Cat’s Paw is an emission nebula with […]

A Martian Eclipse: Phobos Crosses the Sun

Copyright: What’s that passing in front of the Sun? It looks like a moon, but it can’t be Earth’s Moon, because it isn’t round. It’s the Martian moon Phobos. The featured video was taken from the surface of Mars a month ago by the Perseverance rover. Phobos, at 11.5 kilometers across, is 150 times smaller […]

Spiral Galaxy NGC 1512: The Inner Rings

Spiral Galaxy NGC 1512: The Inner Rings

Copyright: Most galaxies don’t have any rings — why does this galaxy have two? To begin, the bright band near NGC 1512’s center is a nuclear ring, a ring that surrounds the galaxy center and glows brightly with recently formed stars. Most stars and accompanying gas and dust, however, orbit the galactic center in a […]

Firefall by Moonlight

Firefall by Moonlight

Copyright: Tara Mostofi On certain dates in February, an elusive firefall can be spotted at sunset in Yosemite National Park, when water flows, the weather cooperates and the direction to the setting Sun is just right. Often photographed from vantage points below, at the right moment the park’s seasonal Horsetail Fall is isolated in the […]

NGC 3572 and the Southern Tadpoles

NGC 3572 and the Southern Tadpoles

Copyright: Carlos Taylor This cosmic skyscape features glowing gas and dark dust clouds along side the young stars of NGC 3572. A beautiful emission nebula and star cluster it sails far southern skies within the nautical constellation Carina. Stars from NGC 3572 are toward top center in the telescopic frame that would measure about 100 […]

NGC 3521: Galaxy in a Bubble

NGC 3521: Galaxy in a Bubble

Copyright: Mark Hanson Gorgeous spiral galaxy NGC 3521 is a mere 35 million light-years away, toward the northern springtime 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 […]

Planets Over Egyptian Pyramid

Planets Over Egyptian Pyramid

Copyright: Osama Fatehi The early morning planet parade continues. Visible the world over, the planets Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Saturn have been lining up in the pre-dawn sky since mid-April. In the featured image taken last month, these planets were captured over the Step Pyramid of Djoser, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the […]

Mercury’s Sodium Tail

Mercury’s Sodium Tail

Copyright: Sebastian Voltmer That’s no comet. Below the Pleiades star cluster is actually a planet: Mercury. Long exposures of our Solar System’s innermost planet may reveal something unexpected: a tail. Mercury’s thin atmosphere contains small amounts of sodium that glow when excited by light from the Sun. Sunlight also liberates these molecules from Mercury’s surface […]

Partial Solar Eclipse over Argentina

Partial Solar Eclipse over Argentina

Copyright: Aixa Andrada What’s happened to the Sun? Two days ago, parts of South America were treated to a partial solar eclipse — where the Moon blocked out part of the Sun. The featured image shows an image of the partially eclipsed Sun through clouds as it was setting over Patagonia, Argentina. In the tilted […]

First Horizon-Scale Image of a Black Hole

First Horizon-Scale Image of a Black Hole

Copyright: What does a black hole look like? To find out, radio telescopes from around the Earth coordinated observations of black holes with the largest known event horizons on the sky. Alone, black holes are just black, but these monster attractors are known to be surrounded by glowing gas. This first image resolves the area […]