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NGC 3572 and the Southern Tadpoles

Copyright: Carlos Taylor This cosmic skyscape features glowing gas and dark dust clouds along side the young stars of NGC 3572. A beautiful emission nebula and star cluster it sails far southern skies within the nautical constellation Carina. Stars from NGC 3572 are toward top center in the telescopic frame that would measure about 100 […]

NGC 3521: Galaxy in a Bubble

Copyright: Mark Hanson Gorgeous spiral galaxy NGC 3521 is a mere 35 million light-years away, toward the northern springtime constellation Leo. Relatively bright in planet Earth’s sky, NGC 3521 is easily visible in small telescopes but often overlooked by amateur imagers in favor of other Leo spiral galaxies, like M66 and M65. It’s hard to […]

Planets Over Egyptian Pyramid

Copyright: Osama Fatehi The early morning planet parade continues. Visible the world over, the planets Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Saturn have been lining up in the pre-dawn sky since mid-April. In the featured image taken last month, these planets were captured over the Step Pyramid of Djoser, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in the […]

Mercury’s Sodium Tail

Copyright: Sebastian Voltmer That’s no comet. Below the Pleiades star cluster is actually a planet: Mercury. Long exposures of our Solar System’s innermost planet may reveal something unexpected: a tail. Mercury’s thin atmosphere contains small amounts of sodium that glow when excited by light from the Sun. Sunlight also liberates these molecules from Mercury’s surface […]

Partial Solar Eclipse over Argentina

Copyright: Aixa Andrada What’s happened to the Sun? Two days ago, parts of South America were treated to a partial solar eclipse — where the Moon blocked out part of the Sun. The featured image shows an image of the partially eclipsed Sun through clouds as it was setting over Patagonia, Argentina. In the tilted […]

First Horizon-Scale Image of a Black Hole

Copyright: What does a black hole look like? To find out, radio telescopes from around the Earth coordinated observations of black holes with the largest known event horizons on the sky. Alone, black holes are just black, but these monster attractors are known to be surrounded by glowing gas. This first image resolves the area […]

M44: The Beehive Cluster

Copyright: Drew Evans A mere 600 light-years away, M44 is one of the closest star clusters to our solar system. Also known as the Praesepe or the Beehive cluster its stars are young though, about 600 million years old compared to our Sun’s 4.5 billion years. Based on similar ages and motion through space, M44 […]

Lyrid of the Lake

Copyright: Jeff Dai In the early hours of April 24 this bright Lyrid meteor flashed along the central Milky Way. For a moment, it cast a bright reflection across Lake Nian, Yunnan province, China. The annual Lyrid meteor shower, one of the oldest known, is active in late April, as our fair planet plows through […]

Moon Shadow on Jupiter

Copyright: What is that large dark spot on Jupiter? It’s the shadow of Io, one of Jupiter’s largest moons. When Jupiter’s moons cross between the Jovian giant and the Sun, they created shadows just like when the Earth’s moon crosses between the Earth and the Sun. Also like on Earth, if you were in a […]

Planet Parade over Sydney Opera House

Copyright: Prasun Agrawal The world is waking up to a picturesque planet parade. Just before dawn, the eastern skies over much of planet Earth are decorated by a notable line of familiar planets. In much of Earth’s northern hemisphere, this line of planets appears most nearly horizontal, but in much of Earth’s southern hemisphere, the […]

The Great Nebula in Carina

Copyright: Ignacio Javier Diaz Bobillo In one of the brightest parts of Milky Way lies a nebula where some of the oddest things occur. NGC 3372, known as the Great Nebula in Carina, is home to massive stars and changing nebulas. The Keyhole Nebula (NGC 3324), the bright structure just below the image center, houses […]

Split the Universe

Copyright: Just now, before you hit the button, two future universes are possible. After pressing the button, though, you will live in only one. A real-web version of the famous Schrödinger’s cat experiment clicking the red button in the featured astronaut image should transform that image into a picture of the same astronaut holding one […]

Messier 104

Copyright: A gorgeous spiral galaxy, Messier 104 is famous for its nearly edge-on profile featuring a broad ring of obscuring dust lanes. Seen in silhouette against an extensive central bulge of stars, the swath of cosmic dust lends a broad brimmed hat-like appearance to the galaxy suggesting a more popular moniker, the Sombrero Galaxy. This […]

Planet Earth at Twilight

Copyright: No sudden, sharp boundary marks the passage of day into night in this gorgeous view of ocean and clouds over our fair planet Earth. Instead, the shadow line or terminator is diffuse and shows the gradual transition to darkness we experience as twilight. With the Sun illuminating the scene from the right, the cloud […]

Apollo 16 Moon Panorama

Copyright: Fifty years ago, April 20, 1972, Apollo 16’s lunar module Orion touched down on the Moon’s near side in the south-central Descartes Highlands. While astronaut Ken Mattingly orbited overhead in Casper the friendly command and service module the Orion brought John Young and Charles Duke to the lunar surface. The pair would spend nearly […]