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Elephant’s Trunk and Caravan

Elephant’s Trunk and Caravan

Copyright: Robert Eder Like an illustration in a galactic Just So Story, the Elephant’s Trunk Nebula winds through the emission nebula and young star cluster complex IC 1396, in the high and far off constellation of Cepheus. Also known as vdB 142, seen on the left the cosmic elephant’s trunk is over 20 light-years long. […]

A Blue Hour Full Moon

A Blue Hour Full Moon

Copyright: Giorgia Hofer Nature photographers and other fans of planet Earth always look forward to the blue hour. That’s the transition in twilight, just before sunrise or after sunset, when the Sun is below the horizon but land and sky are still suffused with a beautiful blue light. After sunset on August 21, this blue […]

Solar System Ball Drop

Copyright: James O’DonoghueJAXARami MandowSpace AustraliaJames O’Donoghue Does a ball drop faster on Earth, Jupiter, or Uranus? The featured animation shows a ball dropping from one kilometer high toward the surfaces of famous solar system bodies, assuming no air resistance. The force of gravity depends on the mass of the attracting object, with higher masses pulling […]

PDS 70: Disk, Planets, and Moons

PDS 70: Disk, Planets, and Moons

Copyright: It’s not the big disk that’s attracting the most attention. Although the big planet-forming disk around the star PDS 70 is clearly imaged and itself quite interesting. It’s also not the planet on the right, just inside the big disk, that’s being talked about the most. Although the planet PDS 70c is a newly […]

Abell 3827: Cannibal Cluster Gravitational Lens

Abell 3827: Cannibal Cluster Gravitational Lens

Copyright: Is that one galaxy or three? Toward the right of the featured Hubble image of the massive galaxy cluster Abell 3827 is what appears to be a most unusual galaxy — curved and with three centers. A detailed analysis, however, finds that these are three images of the same background galaxy — and that […]

Explosions from White Dwarf Star RS Oph

Explosions from White Dwarf Star RS Oph

Copyright: David A. HardyPPARC Spectacular explosions keep occurring in the binary star system named RS Ophiuchi. Every 20 years or so, the red giant star dumps enough hydrogen gas onto its companion white dwarf star to set off a brilliant thermonuclear explosion on the white dwarf’s surface. At about 5,000 light years distant, the resulting […]

Triple Transit and Mutual Events

Triple Transit and Mutual Events

Copyright: Christopher Go These three panels feature the Solar System’s ruling gas giant Jupiter on August 15 as seen from Cebu City, Phillipines, planet Earth. On that date the well-timed telescopic views detail some remarkable performances, transits and mutual events, by Jupiter’s Galilean moons. In the top panel, Io is just disappearing into Jupiter’s shadow […]

Three Perseid Nights

Three Perseid Nights

Copyright: Balint Lengyel Frames from a camera that spent three moonless nights under the stars create this composite night skyscape. They were recorded during August 11-13 while planet Earth was sweeping through the dusty trail of comet Swift-Tuttle. One long exposure, untracked for the foreground, and the many star tracking captures of Perseid shower meteors […]

Bright Meteor, Starry Sky

Bright Meteor, Starry Sky

Copyright: Miguel Claro Plowing through Earth’s atmosphere at 60 kilometers per second, this bright perseid meteor streaks along a starry Milky Way. Captured in dark Portugal skies on August 12, it moves right to left through the frame. Its colorful trail starts near Deneb (alpha Cygni) and ends near Altair (alpha Aquilae), stars of the […]

Rings Around the Ring Nebula

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 […]

M57: The Ring Nebula from Hubble

M57: The Ring Nebula from Hubble

Copyright: cept for the rings of Saturn, the Ring Nebula (M57) is probably the most famous celestial circle. Its classic appearance is understood to be due to our own perspective, though. The recent mapping of the expanding nebula’s 3-D structure, based in part on this clear Hubble image,indicates that the nebula is a relatively dense, […]

Perseid Meteor, Red Sprites, and Nova RS Ophiuchus

Perseid Meteor, Red Sprites, and Nova RS Ophiuchus

Copyright: Daniel Korona This was an unusual sky. It wasn’t unusual because of the central band the Milky Way Galaxy, visible along the image left. Most dark skies show part of the Milky Way. It wasn’t unusual because of the bright meteor visible on the upper right. Many images taken during last week’s Perseid Meteor […]

Perseid Rain

Perseid Rain

Copyright: Luo Hongyang Comet dust rained down on planet Earth last week, streaking through dark skies in the annual Perseid meteor shower. The featured picture is a composite of many images taken from the same location over the peak night of the Perseids. The umbrella was not needed as a shield from meteors, since they […]

Island Universe, Cosmic Sand

Island Universe, Cosmic Sand

Copyright: Marzena Rogozinska Stars in our own Milky Way Galaxy are scattered through this eye-catching field of view. From the early hours after midnight on August 13, the 30 second exposure of the night sky over Busko-Zdroj, Poland records the colorful and bright trail of a Perseid meteor. Seen near the peak of the annual […]

A Perfect Spiral

A Perfect Spiral

Copyright: If not perfect then this spiral galaxy is at least one of the most photogenic. An island universe of about 100 billion stars, 32 million light-years away toward the constellation Pisces, M74 presents a gorgeous face-on view. Classified as an Sc galaxy, the grand design of M74’s graceful spiral arms are traced by bright […]