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A Solar Prominence from SOHO

A Solar Prominence from SOHO

Copyright: How can gas float above the Sun? Twisted magnetic fields arching from the solar surface can trap ionized gas, suspending it in huge looping structures. These majestic plasma arches are seen as prominences above the solar limb. In 1999, this dramatic and detailed image was recorded by the Extreme ultraviolet Image Telescope (EIT) on […]

The Fornax Cluster of Galaxies

The Fornax Cluster of Galaxies

Copyright: Marco Lorenzi Named for the southern constellation toward which most of its galaxies can be found, the Fornax Cluster is one of the closest clusters of galaxies. About 62 million light-years away, it is almost 20 times more distant than our neighboring Andromeda Galaxy, and only about 10 percent farther than the better known […]

South of Orion

South of Orion

Copyright: Vikas Chander South of the large star-forming region known as the Orion Nebula, lies bright blue reflection nebula NGC 1999. At the edge of the Orion molecular cloud complex some 1,500 light-years distant, NGC 1999’s illumination is provided by the embedded variable star V380 Orionis. The nebula is marked with a dark sideways T-shape […]

Western Moon, Eastern Sea

Western Moon, Eastern Sea

Copyright: Tom Glenn The Mare Orientale, Latin for Eastern Sea, is one of the most striking large scale lunar features. The youngest of the large lunar impact basins it’s very difficult to see from an earthbound perspective. Still, taken during a period of favorable tilt, or libration of the lunar nearside, the Eastern Sea can […]

Stars, Dust, and Gas Near Antares

Stars, Dust, and Gas Near Antares

Copyright: Mario CogoGalax Lux Why is the sky near Antares and Rho Ophiuchi so dusty yet colorful? The colors result from a mixture of objects and processes. Fine dust — illuminated from the front by starlight — produces blue reflection nebulae. Gaseous clouds whose atoms are excited by ultraviolet starlight produce reddish emission nebulae. Backlit […]

Video: Comet Leonard over One Hour

Copyright: Matipon TangmatithamNARIT Text: Matipon Tangmatitham Which direction is this comet heading? Judging by the tail, one might imagine that Comet Leonard is traveling towards the bottom right, but a full 3D analysis shows it traveling almost directly away from the camera. With this perspective, the dust tail is trailed towards the camera and can […]

Rigel and the Witch Head Nebula

Rigel and the Witch Head Nebula

Copyright: José Mtanous By starlight this eerie visage shines in the dark, a crooked profile evoking its popular name, the Witch Head Nebula. In fact, this entrancing telescopic portrait gives the impression that the witch has fixed her gaze on Orion’s bright supergiant star Rigel. More formally known as IC 2118, the Witch Head Nebula […]

Saturn, Tethys, Rings, and Shadows

Saturn, Tethys, Rings, and Shadows

Copyright: Seen from ice moon Tethys, rings and shadows would display fantastic views of the Saturnian system. Haven’t dropped in on Tethys lately? Then this gorgeous ringscape from the Cassini spacecraft will have to do for now. Caught in sunlight just below and left of picture center in 2005, Tethys itself is about 1,000 kilometers […]

The Full Moon and the Dancer

The Full Moon and the Dancer

Copyright: Elena Pinna On Monday, January’s Full Moon rose as the Sun set. Spotted near the eastern horizon, its warm hues are seen in this photo taken near Cagliari, capital city of the Italian island of Sardinia. Of course the familiar patterns of light and dark across the Moon’s nearside are created by bright rugged […]

Young Star Jet MHO 2147

Young Star Jet MHO 2147

Copyright: Laser guide stars and adaptive optics sharpened this stunning ground-based image of stellar jets from the Gemini South Observatory, Chilean Andes, planet Earth. These twin outflows of MHO 2147 are from a young star in formation. It lies toward the central Milky Way and the boundary of the constellations Sagittarius and Ophiuchus at an […]

NGC 7822 in Cepheus

NGC 7822 in Cepheus

Copyright: Mark Carter Hot, young stars and cosmic pillars of gas and dust seem to crowd into NGC 7822. At the edge of a giant molecular cloud toward the northern constellation Cepheus, the glowing star forming region lies about 3,000 light-years away. Within the nebula, bright edges and dark shapes stand out in this colorful […]

M31: The Andromeda Galaxy

M31: The Andromeda Galaxy

Copyright: R. GendlerR. Croman The most distant object easily visible to the unaided eye is M31, the great Andromeda Galaxy. Even at some two and a half million light-years distant, this immense spiral galaxy — spanning over 200,000 light years — is visible, although as a faint, nebulous cloud in the constellation Andromeda. In contrast, […]

From Orion to the Southern Cross

From Orion to the Southern Cross

Copyright: Lucy Yunxi Hu This is a sky filled with glowing icons. On the far left is the familiar constellation of Orion, divided by its iconic three-aligned belt stars and featuring the famous Orion Nebula, both partly encircled by Barnard’s Loop. Just left of center in the featured image is the brightest star in the […]

Chamaeleon Dark Nebulas

Chamaeleon Dark Nebulas

Copyright: Jarmo RuuthTelescope LiveHeaven’s Mirror Observatory Sometimes the dark dust of interstellar space has an angular elegance. Such is the case toward the far-south constellation of Chamaeleon. Normally too faint to see, dark dust is best known for blocking visible light from stars and galaxies behind it. In this four-hour exposure, however, the dust is […]

A Retreating Thunderstorm at Sunset

A Retreating Thunderstorm at Sunset

Copyright: Alan DyerThe Amazing Sky What type of cloud is that? This retreating cumulonimbus cloud, more commonly called a thundercloud, is somewhat unusual as it contains the unusual bumpiness of a mammatus cloud on the near end, while simultaneously producing falling rain on the far end. Taken in mid-2013 in southern Alberta, Canada, the cloud […]