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Galileo’s Europa

Copyright: Looping through the Jovian system in the late 1990s, the Galileo spacecraft recorded stunning views of Europa and uncovered evidence that the moon’s icy surface likely hides a deep, global ocean. Galileo’s Europa image data has been remastered here, with improved calibrations to produce a color image approximating what the human eye might see. […]

Curly Spiral Galaxy M63

Copyright: Sophie Paulin A bright spiral galaxy of the northern sky, Messier 63 is nearby, about 30 million light-years distant toward the loyal constellation Canes Venatici. Also cataloged as NGC 5055, the majestic island universe is nearly 100,000 light-years across, about the size of our own Milky Way. Its bright core and majestic spiral arms […]

WR 134 Ring Nebula

Copyright: Craig Stocks Made with narrowband filters, this cosmic snapshot covers a field of view about the size of the full Moon within the boundaries of the constellation Cygnus. It highlights the bright edge of a ring-like nebula traced by the glow of ionized sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen gas. Embedded in the region’s interstellar clouds […]

Sunspot with Light Bridge

Copyright: Mark Johnston Why would a small part of the Sun appear slightly dark? Visible is a close-up picture of sunspots, depressions on the Sun’s surface that are slightly cooler and less bright than the rest of the Sun. The Sun’s complex magnetic field creates these cool regions by inhibiting hot material from entering the […]

Total Eclipse: The Big Corona

Copyright: Reinhold Wittich Most photographs don’t adequately portray the magnificence of the Sun’s corona. Seeing the corona first-hand during a total solar eclipse is unparalleled. The human eye can adapt to see coronal features and extent that average cameras usually cannot. Welcome, however, to the digital age. The featured image digitally combined short and long […]

M16: Eagle Nebula Deep Field

Copyright: Gianni Lacroce From afar, the whole thing looks like an eagle. A closer look at the Eagle Nebula, however, shows the bright region is actually a window into the center of a larger dark shell of dust. Through this window, a brightly-lit workshop appears where a whole open cluster of stars is being formed. […]

To Fly Free in Space

Copyright: What would it be like to fly free in space? At about 100 meters from the cargo bay of the space shuttle Challenger, Bruce McCandless II was living the dream — floating farther out than anyone had ever been before. Guided by a Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), astronaut McCandless, pictured, was floating free in […]

Apollo 17: The Crescent Earth

Copyright: Our fair planet sports a curved, sunlit crescent against the black backdrop of space in this stunning photograph. From the unfamiliar perspective, the Earth is small and, like a telescopic image of a distant planet, the entire horizon is completely within the field of view. Enjoyed by crews on board the International Space Station, […]

Halley Dust, Mars Dust, and Milky Way

Copyright: Petr Horalek Grains of cosmic dust streaked through night skies in early May. Swept up as planet Earth plowed through the debris streams left behind by periodic Comet Halley, the annual meteor shower is known as the Eta Aquarids. This year, the Eta Aquarids peak was visually hampered by May’s bright Full Moon, though. […]

Fomalhaut’s Dusty Debris Disk

Copyright: Fomalhaut is a bright star, a 25 light-year voyage from planet Earth in the direction of the constellation Piscis Austrinus. Astronomers first noticed Fomalhaut’s excess infrared emission in the 1980s. Space and ground-based telescopes have since identified the infrared emission’s source as a disk of dusty debris surrounding the hot, young star related to […]

Milky Way over Egyptian Desert

Copyright: Amr Abdelwahab For ten years the stargazer dreamed of taking a picture like this. The dreamer knew that the White Desert National Park in Egypt’s Western Desert is a picturesque place hosting numerous chalk formations sculpted into surreal structures by a sandy wind. The dreamer knew that the sky above could be impressively dark […]

Shadows of Earth

Copyright: Marcella Giulia Pace Can you find two Earth shadows in today’s image? It’s a bit tricky. To find the first shadow, observe that the top part of the atmosphere appears pink and the lower part appears blue. This is because the top half is exposed to direct sunlight, while the lower part is not. […]

The Spanish Dancer Spiral Galaxy

Copyright: If not perfect, then this spiral galaxy is at least one of the most photogenic. An island universe containing billions of stars and situated about 40 million light-years away toward the constellation of the Dolphinfish (Dorado), NGC 1566 presents a gorgeous face-on view. Classified as a grand design spiral, NGC 1566 shows two prominent […]

The Helix Nebula from CFHT

Copyright: Will our Sun look like this one day? The Helix Nebula is one of brightest and closest examples of a planetary nebula, a gas cloud created at the end of the life of a Sun-like star. The outer gasses of the star expelled into space appear from our vantage point as if we are […]

Twilight in a Flower

Copyright: Dario Giannobile Transformed into the petals of a flower, 16 exposures show the passage of day into night in this creative timelapse skyscape. Start at the top and move counterclockwise to follow consecutive moments as the twilight sky turns an ever darker blue and night blossoms. Each exposure was recorded on the evening of […]