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Solar System Family Portrait

Solar System Family Portrait

Copyright: Alexis Trigo Yes, but have you ever seen all of the planets at once? A rare roll-call of planets has been occurring in the morning sky for much of June. The featured fisheye all-sky image, taken a few mornings ago near the town of San Pedro de Atacama in Chile, caught not only the […]

Mercury from Passing BepiColombo

Mercury from Passing BepiColombo

Copyright: Which part of the Moon is this? No part — because this is the planet Mercury. Mercury’s old surface is heavily cratered like that of Earth’s Moon. Mercury, while only slightly larger than Luna, is much denser and more massive than any Solar System moon because it is made mostly of iron. In fact, […]

The Gum Nebula over Snowy Mountains

The Gum Nebula over Snowy Mountains

Copyright: Wang Jin The Gum Nebula is so large and close it is actually hard to see. This interstellar expanse of glowing hydrogen gas frequently evades notice because it spans 35 degrees — over 70 full Moons — while much of it is quite dim. This featured spectacular 90-degree wide mosaic, however, was designed to […]

Light Echoes from V838 Mon

Light Echoes from V838 Mon

Copyright: What caused this outburst of V838 Mon? For reasons unknown, star V838 Mon’s outer surface suddenly greatly expanded with the result that it became one of the brighter stars in the Milky Way Galaxy in early 2002. Then, just as suddenly, it shrunk and faded. A stellar flash like this had never been seen […]

Planets of the Solar System

Planets of the Solar System

Copyright: Gruppo Astrofili Palidoro Simultaneous images from four cameras were combined to construct this atmospheric predawn skyscape. The cooperative astro-panorama captures all the planets of the Solar System, just before sunrise on June 24. That foggy morning found innermost planet Mercury close to the horizon but just visible against the twilight, below and left of […]

Filaprom on the Western Limb

Filaprom on the Western Limb

Copyright: Martin Wise A solar filament is an enormous stream of incandescent plasma suspended above the active surface of the Sun by looping magnetic fields. Seen against the solar disk it looks dark only because it’s a little cooler, and so slightly dimmer, than the solar photosphere. Suspended above the solar limb the same structure […]

Spiral Galaxy NGC 6744

Spiral Galaxy NGC 6744

Copyright: Basudeb Chakrabarti Beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 6744 is nearly 175,000 light-years across, larger than our own Milky Way. It lies some 30 million light-years distant in the southern constellation Pavo but appears as only a faint, extended object in small telescopes. We see the disk of the nearby island universe tilted towards our line […]

Supernova Remnant: The Veil Nebula

Supernova Remnant: The Veil Nebula

Copyright: Craig Stocks Ten thousand years ago, before the dawn of recorded human history, a new light would have suddenly have appeared in the night sky and faded after a few weeks. Today we know this light was from a supernova, or exploding star, and record the expanding debris cloud as the Veil Nebula, a […]

Analemma over Taipei

Analemma over Taipei

Copyright: Meiying Lee Does the Sun return to the same spot on the sky every day? No. A better and more visual answer to that question is an analemma, a composite of images taken at the same time and from the same place over the course of a year. The featured analemma was compiled at […]

Rock Fingers on Mars

Rock Fingers on Mars

Copyright: There, just right of center, what is that? The surface of Mars keeps revealing new surprises with the recent discovery of finger-like rock spires. The small nearly-vertical rock outcrops were imaged last month by the robotic Curiosity rover on Mars. Although similar in size and shape to small snakes, the leading explanation for their […]

Game: Super Planet Crash

Copyright: Can you create a planetary system that lasts for 1000 years? Super Planet Crash, the featured game, allows you to try. To create up to ten planets, just click anywhere near the central star. Planet types can be selected on the left in order of increasing mass: Earth, Super-Earth, Ice giant, Giant planet, Brown […]

The Gamma Cygni Nebula

The Gamma Cygni Nebula

Copyright: Min Xie Supergiant star Gamma Cygni is at the center of the Northern Cross. Near the plane of our Milky Way galaxy, that famous asterism flies high in northern summer night skies in the constellation Cygnus the Swan. Known by the proper name Sadr, Gamma Cygni also lies just below center in this telescopic […]

Good Morning Planets from Chile

Good Morning Planets from Chile

Copyright: Elke Schulz On June 15, innermost planet Mercury had wandered about as far from the Sun as it ever gets in planet Earth’s sky. Near the eastern horizon just before sunrise it stands over distant Andes mountain peaks in this predawn snapshot from the valley of Rio Hurtado in Chile. June’s other morning planets […]

Strawberry Supermoon from China

Strawberry Supermoon from China

Copyright: Jeff Dai There are four Full Supermoons in 2022. Using the definition of a supermoon as a Full Moon near perigee, that is within at least 90% of its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit, the year’s Full Supermoon dates are May 16, June 14, July 13, and August 12. Full Moons […]

In the Heart of the Virgo Cluster

In the Heart of the Virgo Cluster

Copyright: Saulius Adomaitis The Virgo Cluster of Galaxies is the closest cluster of galaxies to our Milky Way Galaxy. The Virgo Cluster is so close that it spans more than 5 degrees on the sky – about 10 times the angle made by a full Moon. With its heart lying about 70 million light years […]