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Red Sprite Lightning over the Andes

Red Sprite Lightning over the Andes

Copyright: Yuri BeletskyCarnegieLas Campanas ObservatoryTWAN What are those red filaments in the sky? They are a rarely seen form of lightning confirmed only about 30 years ago: red sprites. Recent research has shown that following a powerful positive cloud-to-ground lightning strike, red sprites may start as 100-meter balls of ionized air that shoot down from […]

M64: The Evil Eye Galaxy

M64: The Evil Eye Galaxy

Copyright: Who knows what evil lurks in the eyes of galaxies? The Hubble knows — or in the case of spiral galaxy M64 — is helping to find out. Messier 64, also known as the Evil Eye or Sleeping Beauty Galaxy, may seem to have evil in its eye because all of its stars rotate […]

SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free

SuitSat-1: A Spacesuit Floats Free

Copyright: A spacesuit floated away from the International Space Station 15 years ago, but no investigation was conducted. Everyone knew that it was pushed by the space station crew. Dubbed Suitsat-1, the unneeded Russian Orlan spacesuit filled mostly with old clothes was fitted with a faint radio transmitter and released to orbit the Earth. The […]

Curiosity: Sol 3048

Curiosity: Sol 3048

Copyright: Before Perseverance there was Curiosity. In fact, the Curiosity rover accomplished the first sky crane maneuver touchdown on Mars on April 5, 2012. March 2, 2021 marked Curiosity’s 3,048th martian day operating on the surface of the Red Planet. This 360 degree panorama from sol 3048 is a mosaic of 149 frames from Curiosity’s […]

Aurorae and Lightning on Jupiter

Aurorae and Lightning on Jupiter

Copyright: Why does so much of Jupiter’s lightning occur near its poles? Similar to Earth, Jupiter experiences both aurorae and lightning. Different from Earth, though, Jupiter’s lightning usually occurs near its poles — while much of Earth’s lightning occurs near its equator. To help understand the difference, NASA’s Juno spacecraft, currently orbiting Jupiter, has observed […]

Mars over Duddo Stone Circle

Mars over Duddo Stone Circle

Copyright: Ged Kivlehan Why are these large stones here? One the more famous stone circles is the Duddo Five Stones of Northumberland, England. Set in the open near the top of a modest incline, a short hike across empty fields will bring you to unusual human -sized stones that are unlike anything surrounding them. The […]

From Auriga to Orion

From Auriga to Orion

Copyright: Alistair Symon What’s up in the sky from Auriga to Orion? Many of the famous stars and nebulas in this region were captured on 34 separate images, taking over 430 hours of exposure, and digitally combined to reveal the featured image. Starting on the far upper left, toward the constellation of Auriga (the Chariot […]

The Antikythera Mechanism

The Antikythera Mechanism

Copyright: No one knew that 2,000 years ago, the technology existed to build such a device. The Antikythera mechanism, pictured, is now widely regarded as the first computer. Found at the bottom of the sea aboard a decaying Greek ship, its complexity prompted decades of study, and even today some of its functions likely remain […]

The Leo Trio

The Leo Trio

Copyright: Francis Bozon This popular group leaps into the early evening sky around the March equinox and the northern hemisphere spring. Famous as the Leo Triplet, the three magnificent galaxies found in the prominent constellation Leo gather here in one astronomical field of view. Crowd pleasers when imaged with even modest telescopes, they can be […]

Central Lagoon in Infrared

Central Lagoon in Infrared

Copyright: Stars fill this infrared view, spanning 4 light-years across the center of the Lagoon Nebula. Visible light images show the glowing gas and obscuring dust clouds that dominate the scene. But this infrared image, constructed from Hubble Space Telescope data, peers closer to the heart of the active star-forming region revealing newborn stars scattered […]

Stardust in the Perseus Molecular Cloud

Stardust in the Perseus Molecular Cloud

Copyright: Kerry-Ann Lecky Hepburn Clouds of stardust drift through this deep skyscape, across the Perseus molecular cloud some 850 light-years away. Dusty nebulae reflecting light from embedded young stars stand out in the nearly 2 degree wide telescopic field of view. With a characteristic bluish color reflection nebula NGC 1333 is at center, vdB 13 […]

The Surface of Venus from Venera 13

The Surface of Venus from Venera 13

Copyright: Donald Mitchell If you could stand on Venus — what would you see? Pictured is the view from Venera 13, a robotic Soviet lander which parachuted and air-braked down through the thick Venusian atmosphere in March of 1982. The desolate landscape it saw included flat rocks, vast empty terrain, and a featureless sky above […]

IC 1318: The Butterfly Nebula in Gas and Dust

IC 1318: The Butterfly Nebula in Gas and Dust

Copyright: Alan Pham In the constellation of the swan near the nebula of the pelican lies the gas cloud of the butterfly next to a star known as the hen. That star, given the proper name Sadr, is just to the right of the featured frame, but the central Butterfly Nebula, designated IC 1318, is […]

Meteor Fireballs in Light and Sound

Copyright: Thomas AshcraftRadio Fireball Observatory Yes, but have you ever heard a meteor? Usually, meteors are too far away to make any audible sound. However, a meteor will briefly create an ionization trail that can reflect a distant radio signal. If the geometry is right, you may momentarily hear — through your radio — a […]

A Flag Shaped Aurora over Sweden

A Flag Shaped Aurora over Sweden

Copyright: Mia StÃ¥lnacke It appeared, momentarily, like a 50-km tall banded flag. In mid-March of 2015, an energetic Coronal Mass Ejection directed toward a clear magnetic channel to Earth led to one of the more intense geomagnetic storms of recent years. A visual result was wide spread auroras being seen over many countries near Earth’s […]