Remove Ads

A Total Solar Eclipse from Sliver to Ring

Copyright: Reinhold Wittich; Music: Sunrise from Also sprach Zarathusra (R. Strauss) by Sascha Ende This is how the Sun disappeared from the daytime sky last month. The featured time-lapse video was created from stills taken from Mountain View, Arkansas, USA on 2024 April 8. First, a small sliver of a normally spotted Sun went strangely […]

A Black Hole Disrupts a Passing Star

Copyright: What happens to a star that goes near a black hole? If the star directly impacts a massive black hole, then the star falls in completely — and everything vanishes. More likely, though, the star goes close enough to have the black hole’s gravity pull away its outer layers, or disrupt, the star. Then, […]

3 ATs

Copyright: Yuri Beletsky Despite their resemblance to R2D2, these three are not the droids you’re looking for. Instead, the enclosures house 1.8 meter Auxiliary Telescopes (ATs) at Paranal Observatory in the Atacama Desert region of Chile. The ATs are designed to be used for interferometry, a technique for achieving extremely high resolution observations, in concert […]

Temperatures on Exoplanet WASP-43b

Copyright: A mere 280 light-years from Earth, tidally locked, Jupiter-sized exoplanet WASP-43b orbits its parent star once every 0.8 Earth days. That puts it about 2 million kilometers (less than 1/25th the orbital distance of Mercury) from a small, cool sun. Still, on a dayside always facing its parent star, temperatures approach a torrid 2,500 […]

M100: A Grand Design Spiral Galaxy

Copyright: Drew Evans Majestic on a truly cosmic scale, M100 is appropriately known as a grand design spiral galaxy. The large galaxy of over 100 billion stars has well-defined spiral arms, similar to our own Milky Way. One of the brightest members of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies, M100, also known as NGC 4321 is […]

IC 1795: The Fishhead Nebula

Copyright: Roberto Colombari & Mauro Narduzzi To some, this nebula looks like the head of a fish. However, this colorful cosmic portrait really features glowing gas and obscuring dust clouds in IC 1795, a star forming region in the northern constellation Cassiopeia. The nebula’s colors were created by adopting the Hubble color palette for mapping […]

GK Per: Nova and Planetary Nebula

Copyright: Deep Sky Collective The star system GK Per is known to be associated with only two of the three nebulas pictured. At 1500 light years distant, Nova Persei 1901 (GK Persei) was the second closest nova yet recorded. At the very center is a white dwarf star, the surviving core of a former Sun-like […]

Comet, Planet, Moon

Copyright: Juan Carlos Casado Three bright objects satisfied seasoned stargazers of the western sky just after sunset earlier this month. The most familiar was the Moon, seen on the upper left in a crescent phase. The rest of the Moon was faintly visible by sunlight first reflected by the Earth. The bright planet Jupiter, the […]

Rings Around the Ring Nebula

Copyright: Robert Gendler The Ring Nebula (M57) is more complicated than it appears through a small telescope. The easily visible central ring is about one light-year across, but this remarkably deep exposure – a collaborative effort combining data from three different large telescopes – explores the looping filaments of glowing gas extending much farther from […]

All Sky Moon Shadow

Copyright: Tunc Tezel If the Sun is up but the sky is dark and the horizon is bright all around, you might be standing in the Moon’s shadow during a total eclipse of the Sun. In fact, the all-sky Moon shadow shown in this composited panoramic view was captured from a farm near Shirley, Arkansas, […]

Regulus and the Dwarf Galaxy

Copyright: Markus Horn In northern hemisphere spring, bright star Regulus is easy to spot above the eastern horizon. The alpha star of the constellation Leo, Regulus is the spiky star centered in this telescopic field of view. A mere 79 light-years distant, Regulus is a hot, rapidly spinning star that is known to be part […]

NGC 604: Giant Stellar Nursery

Copyright: Located some 3 million light-years away in the arms of nearby spiral galaxy M33, giant stellar nursery NGC 604 is about 1,300 light-years across. That’s nearly 100 times the size of the Milky Way’s Orion Nebula, the closest large star forming region to planet Earth. In fact, among the star forming regions within the […]

Dragon’s Egg Bipolar Emission Nebula

Copyright: Rowan Prangley How did a star form this beautiful nebula? In the middle of emission nebula NGC 6164 is an unusually massive star. The central star has been compared to an oyster’s pearl and an egg protected by the mythical sky dragons of Ara. The star, visible in the center of the featured image […]

Contrail Shadow X

Copyright: Fatih Ekmen What created this giant X in the clouds? It was the shadow of contrails illuminated from below. When airplanes fly, humid engine exhaust may form water droplets that might freeze in Earth’s cold upper atmosphere. These persistent streams of water and ice scatter light from the Sun above and so appear bright […]

Moon and Smoke Rings from Mt. Etna

Copyright: Dario Giannobile Yes, but can your volcano do this? To the surprise of some, Mt. Etna emits, on occasion, smoke rings. Technically known as vortex rings, the walls of the volcano slightly slow the outside of emitted smoke puffs, causing the inside gas to move faster. A circle of low pressure develops so that […]