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Stars and Planets over Portugal

Stars and Planets over Portugal

Copyright: Miguel ClaroTWAN The mission was to document night-flying birds — but it ended up also documenting a beautiful sky. The featured wide-angle mosaic was taken over the steppe golden fields in Mértola, Portugal in 2020. From such a dark location, an immediately-evident breathtaking glow arched over the night sky: the central band of our […]

Shuttle Over Earth

Shuttle Over Earth

Copyright: What’s that approaching? Astronauts on board the International Space Station in 2010 first saw it far in the distance. Soon it enlarged to become a dark silhouette. As it came even closer, the silhouette appeared to be a spaceship. Finally, the object revealed itself to be the Space Shuttle Endeavour, and it soon docked […]

Orion Pines

Orion Pines

Copyright: Juan Carlos Casado Taken with a camera fixed to a tripod, many short exposures were aligned with the stars to unveil this beautiful, dark night sky. Captured near the rural village of Albany`a at the northeastern corner of Spain, the three stars of Orion’s belt stretch across top center in the starry frame. Alnitak, […]

The Gator-back Rocks of Mars

The Gator-back Rocks of Mars

Copyright: Wind-sharpened rocks known as ventifacts, cover this broad sloping plain in the foot hills of Mount Sharp, Gale crater, Mars. Dubbed gator-back rocks their rugged, scaly appearance is captured in these digitally stitched Mastcam frames from the Curiosity rover on mission sol 3,415 (March 15, 2022). Driving over gator-back rocks before has resulted in […]

Messier 96

Messier 96

Copyright: Mark Hanson Spiral arms seem to swirl around the core of Messier 96 in this colorful, detailed portrait of a beautiful island universe. Of course M96 is a spiral galaxy, and counting the faint arms extending beyond the brighter central region it spans 100 thousand light-years or so. That’s about the size of our […]

Milky Way over Devils Tower

Milky Way over Devils Tower

Copyright: MaryBeth Kiczenski What created Devils Tower? The origin of this extraordinary rock monolith in Wyoming, USA is still debated, with a leading hypothesis holding that it is a hardened lava plume that never reached the surface to become a volcano. In this theory, the lighter rock that once surrounded the dense volcanic neck has […]

N11: Star Clouds of the LMC

N11: Star Clouds of the LMC

Copyright: Massive stars, abrasive winds, mountains of dust, and energetic light sculpt one of the largest and most picturesque regions of star formation in the Local Group of Galaxies. Known as N11, the region is visible on the upper right of many images of its home galaxy, the Milky Way neighbor known as the Large […]

A Space Station Crosses a Busy Sun

A Space Station Crosses a Busy Sun

Copyright: Wang LetianEyes at Night Typically, the International Space Station is visible only at night. Slowly drifting across the night sky as it orbits the Earth, the International Space Station (ISS) can be seen as a bright spot several times a year from many locations. The ISS is then visible only just after sunset or […]

Shadows at the Moon’s South Pole

Shadows at the Moon’s South Pole

Copyright: Was this image of the Moon’s surface taken with a microscope? No — it’s a multi-temporal illumination map made with a wide-angle camera. To create it, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft collected 1,700 images over a period of 6 lunar days (6 Earth months), repeatedly covering an area centered on the Moon’s south pole […]

Mars-Saturn Conjunction

Mars-Saturn Conjunction

Copyright: Damian Peach Fainter stars in the zodiacal constellation Capricornus are scattered near the plane of the ecliptic in this field of view. The two brightest ones at center aren’t stars at all though, but the planets Mars and Saturn. Taken on the morning of April 4, the telescopic snapshot captured their tantalizing close conjunction […]

Hale-Bopp: The Great Comet of 1997

Hale-Bopp: The Great Comet of 1997

Copyright: Stefan Seip Only twenty-five years ago, Comet Hale-Bopp rounded the Sun and offered a dazzling spectacle in planet Earth’s night skies. Digitized from the original astrophoto on 35mm color slide film, this classic image of the Great Comet of 1997 was recorded a few days after its perihelion passage on April 1, 1997. Made […]

Messier 24: Sagittarius Star Cloud

Messier 24: Sagittarius Star Cloud

Copyright: Gabriel Rodrigues Santos Unlike most entries in Charles Messier’s famous catalog of deep sky objects, M24 is not a bright galaxy, star cluster, or nebula. It’s a gap in nearby, obscuring interstellar dust clouds that allows a view of the distant stars in the Sagittarius spiral arm of our Milky Way galaxy. When you […]

Earendel: A Star in the Early Universe

Earendel: A Star in the Early Universe

Copyright: Is Earendel the farthest star yet discovered? This scientific possibility started when the Hubble Space Telescope observed a huge cluster of galaxies. The gravitational lens effect of this cluster was seen to magnify and distort a galaxy far in the background. This distorted background galaxy — so far away it has a redshift of 6.2 […]

Seven Sisters versus California

Seven Sisters versus California

Copyright: Neven Krcmarek On the upper right, dressed in blue, is the Pleiades. Also known as the Seven Sisters and M45, the Pleiades is one of the brightest and most easily visible open clusters on the sky. The Pleiades contains over 3,000 stars, is about 400 light years away, and only 13 light years across. […]

A Vortex Aurora over Iceland

A Vortex Aurora over Iceland

Copyright: Christophe Suarez No, the car was not in danger of being vacuumed into space by the big sky vortex. For one reason, the vortex was really an aurora, and since auroras are created by particles striking the Earth from space, they do not create a vacuum. This rapidly developing auroral display was caused by […]