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A View Toward M106

Copyright: Kyunghoon Lim Big, bright, beautiful spiral, Messier 106 dominates this cosmic vista. The nearly two degree wide telescopic field of view looks toward the well-trained constellation Canes Venatici, near the handle of the Big Dipper. Also known as NGC 4258, M106 is about 80,000 light-years across and 23.5 million light-years away, the largest member […]

Seagull Nebula over Pinnacles’ Peak

Copyright: Dheera Venkatraman The bird is bigger than the peak. Nicknamed for its avian shape, the Seagull Nebula is an emission nebula on the night sky that is vast, spanning an angle over five times the diameter of the full moon and over 200 light years. The head of the nebula is catalogued as IC […]

AM1054: Stars Form as Galaxies Collide

Copyright: When galaxies collide, how many stars are born? For AM1054-325, featured here in a recently released image by the Hubble Space Telescope, the answer is millions. Instead of stars being destroyed as galaxy AM1054-325 and a nearby galaxy circle each other, their gravity and motion has ignited stellar creation. Star formation occurs rapidly in […]

Looking Sideways from the Parker Solar Probe

Copyright: What’s happening near the Sun? To help find out, NASA launched the robotic Parker Solar Probe (PSP) to investigate regions closer to the Sun than ever before. The PSP’s looping orbit brings it nearer to the Sun each time around — every few months. The featured time-lapse video shows the view looking sideways from […]

Hoag’s Object: A Nearly Perfect Ring Galaxy

Copyright: Is this one galaxy or two? This question came to light in 1950 when astronomer Arthur Hoag chanced upon this unusual extragalactic object. On the outside is a ring dominated by bright blue stars, while near the center lies a ball of much redder stars that are likely much older. Between the two is […]

Meteor over the Bay of Naples

Copyright: Wang Letian A cosmic dust grain plowing through the upper atmosphere much faster than a falling leaf created this brilliant meteor streak. In a serendipitous moment, the sublime night sky view was captured from the resort island of Capri, in the Bay of Naples, on the evening of February 8. Looking across the bay, […]

Structure in the Tail of Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks

Copyright: Dan Bartlett Heading for its next perihelion passage on April 21, Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks is growing brighter. The greenish coma of this periodic Halley-type comet has become relatively easy to observe in small telescopes. But the bluish ion tail now streaming from the active comet’s coma and buffeted by the solar wind, is faint and […]

A January Wolf Moon

Copyright: Antoni Zegarski Did you see the full moon last month? During every month, on average, a full moon occurs in the skies over planet Earth. This is because the Moon takes a month to complete another orbit around our home planet, goes through all of its phases, and once again has its entire Earth-facing […]

HFG1 & Abell 6: Planetary Nebulae

Copyright: Julien Cadena & Mickael Coulon; Text: Natalia Lewandowska (SUNY Oswego) Planetary nebulae like Heckathorn-Fesen-Gull 1 (HFG1) and Abell 6 in the constellation Cassiopeia are remnants from the last phase of a medium sized star like our Sun. In spite of their shapes, planetary nebulae have nothing in common with actual planets. Located in the […]

Rocket Plume Shadow Points to the Moon

Copyright: Why would the shadow of a rocket’s launch plume point toward the Moon? In early 2001 during a launch of the space shuttle Atlantis, the Sun, Earth, Moon, and rocket were all properly aligned for this photogenic coincidence. First, for the space shuttle’s plume to cast a long shadow, the time of day must […]

The Shadow of Ingenuity’s Damaged Rotor Blade

Copyright: On January 18, 2024, during its 72nd flight in the thin Martian atmosphere, autonomous Mars Helicopter Ingenuity rose to an altitude of 12 meters (40 feet) and hovered for 4.5 seconds above the Red Planet. Ingenuity’s 72nd landing was a rough one though. During descent it lost contact with the Perseverance rover about 1 […]

When Roses Aren’t Red

Copyright: Tommy Lease Not all roses are red of course, but they can still be very pretty. Likewise, the beautiful Rosette Nebula and other star forming regions are often shown in astronomical images with a predominately red hue, in part because the dominant emission in the nebula is from hydrogen atoms. Hydrogen’s strongest optical emission […]

Globular Star Cluster 47 Tuc

Copyright: Marco Lorenzi Globular star cluster 47 Tucanae is a jewel of the southern sky. Also known as NGC 104, it roams the halo of our Milky Way Galaxy along with some 200 other globular star clusters. The second brightest globular cluster (after Omega Centauri) as seen from planet Earth, 47 Tuc lies about 13,000 […]

NGC 1566: A Spiral Galaxy from Webb and Hubble

Copyright: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, J. Lee (STScI), T. Williams (Oxford), R. Chandar (UToledo), D. Calzetti (UMass), PHANGS Team What’s different about this galaxy? Very little, which makes the Spanish Dancer galaxy, NGC 1566, one of the most typical and photogenic spirals on the sky. There is something different about this galaxy image, though, because […]

In the Core of the Carina Nebula

Copyright: Carlos Taylor What’s happening in the core of the Carina Nebula? Stars are forming, dying, and leaving an impressive tapestry of dark dusty filaments. The entire Carina Nebula, cataloged as NGC 3372, spans over 300 light years and lies about 8,500 light-years away in the constellation of Carina. The nebula is composed predominantly of […]