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Moons Across Jupiter

Copyright: Jupiter’s moons circle Jupiter. The featured video depicts Europa and Io, two of Jupiter’s largest moons, crossing in front of the grand planet’s Great Red Spot, the largest known storm system in our Solar System. The video was composed from images taken by the robotic Cassini spacecraft as it passed Jupiter in 2000, on […]

Color the Universe

Copyright: Wouldn’t it be fun to color in the universe? If you think so, please accept this famous astronomical illustration as a preliminary substitute. You, your friends, your parents or children, can print it out or even color it digitally. While coloring, you might be interested to know that even though this illustration has appeared […]

Charon: Moon of Pluto

Copyright: A darkened and mysterious north polar region known to some as Mordor Macula caps this premier high-resolution view. The portrait of Charon, Pluto’s largest moon, was captured by New Horizons near the spacecraft’s closest approach on July 14, 2015. The combined blue, red, and infrared data was processed to enhance colors and follow variations […]

Messier 101

Copyright: Big, beautiful spiral galaxy M101 is one of the last entries in Charles Messier’s famous catalog, but definitely not one of the least. About 170,000 light-years across, this galaxy is enormous, almost twice the size of our own Milky Way. M101 was also one of the original spiral nebulae observed by Lord Rosse’s large […]

Simulation: A Disk Galaxy Forms

Copyright: How did we get here? We know that we live on a planet orbiting a star orbiting a galaxy, but how did all of this form? Since our universe moves too slowly to watch, faster-moving computer simulations are created to help find out. Specifically, this featured video from the IllustrisTNG collaboration tracks gas from […]

M27: The Dumbbell Nebula

Copyright: Patrick A. Cosgrove Is this what will become of our Sun? Quite possibly. The first hint of our Sun’s future was discovered inadvertently in 1764. At that time, Charles Messier was compiling a list of diffuse objects not to be confused with comets. The 27th object on Messier’s list, now known as M27 or […]

Milky Way over a Turquoise Wonderland

Copyright: Petr HorálekInstitute of Physics in Opava What glows there? The answer depends: sea or sky? In the sea, the unusual blue glow is bioluminescence. Specifically, the glimmer arises from Noctiluca scintillans, single-celled plankton stimulated by the lapping waves. The plankton use their glow to startle and illuminate predators. This mid-February display on an island […]

Ida and Dactyl: Asteroid and Moon

Copyright: This asteroid has a moon. The robot spacecraft Galileo on route to Jupiter in 1993 encountered and photographed two asteroids during its long interplanetary voyage. The second minor planet it photographed, 243 Ida, was unexpectedly discovered to have a moon. The tiny moon, Dactyl, is only about 1.6 kilometers across and seen as a […]

Crescent Neptune and Triton

Copyright: Gliding through the outer Solar System, in 1989 the Voyager 2 spacecraft looked toward the Sun to find this view of most distant planet Neptune and its moon Triton together in a crescent phase. The elegant image of ice-giant planet and largest moon was taken from behind just after Voyager’s closest approach. It could […]

Virgo Cluster Galaxies

Copyright: Abdullah Alharbi Galaxies of the Virgo Cluster are scattered across this nearly 4 degree wide telescopic field of view. About 50 million light-years distant, the Virgo Cluster is the closest large galaxy cluster to our own local galaxy group. Prominent here are Virgo’s bright elliptical galaxies Messier catalog, M87 at bottom center, and M84 […]

Cat’s Eye Wide and Deep

Copyright: Jean-François Bax The Cat’s Eye Nebula (NGC 6543) is one of the best known planetary nebulae in the sky. Its more familiar outlines are seen in the brighter central region of the nebula in this impressive wide-angle view. But this wide and deep image combining data from two telescopes also reveals its extremely faint […]

Observatory Aligned with Moon Occulting Jupiter

Copyright: Rick WhitacreNatalia LewandowskaSUNY Oswego Sometimes we witness the Moon moving directly in front of — called occulting — one of the planets in our Solar System. Earlier this month that planet was Jupiter. Captured here was the moment when Jupiter re-appeared from behind the surface of our Moon. The Moon was in its third […]

Jupiter’s Swirls from Juno

Copyright: Big storms are different on Jupiter. On Earth, huge hurricanes and colossal cyclones are centered on regions of low pressure, but on Jupiter, it is the high-pressure, anti-cyclone storms that are the largest. On Earth, large storms can last weeks, but on Jupiter they can last years. On Earth, large storms can be as […]

Supernova Discovered in Nearby Spiral Galaxy M101

Copyright: Craig Stocks A nearby star has exploded and humanity’s telescopes are turning to monitor it. The supernova, dubbed SN 2023ifx, was discovered by Japanese astronomer Koichi Itagaki three days ago and subsequently located on automated images from the Zwicky Transient Facility two days earlier. SN 2023ifx occurred in the photogenic Pinwheel Galaxy M101, which, […]

Tardigrade in Moss

Copyright: Science Source Images Is this an alien? Probably not, but of all the animals on Earth, the tardigrade might be the best candidate. That’s because tardigrades are known to be able to go for decades without food or water, to survive temperatures from near absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water, […]