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A Total Eclipse of the Sun

Copyright: JM Pasachoff Antarctic Expedition Few were able to stand in the Moon’s shadow and watch the December 4 total eclipse of the Sun. Determined by celestial mechanics and not geographical boundaries, the narrow path of totality tracked across planet Earth’s relatively inaccessible southernmost continent. Still, some enthusiastic and well-insulated eclipse chasers were rewarded with […]

Comet Hale-Bopp Over Val Parola Pass

Copyright: Col Druscie Obs.AAC Comet Hale-Bopp, the Great Comet of 1997, became much brighter than any surrounding stars. It was seen even over bright city lights. Away from city lights, however, it put on quite a spectacular show. Here Comet Hale-Bopp was photographed above Val Parola Pass in the Dolomite mountains surrounding Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy. […]

Ninety Gravitational Wave Spectrograms and Counting

Copyright: very time two massive black holes collide, a loud chirping sound is broadcast out into the universe in gravitational waves. Humanity has only had the technology to hear these unusual chirps for the past seven years, but since then we have heard about 90 — during the first three observing runs. Featured above are […]

Space Station Silhouette on the Moon

Copyright: Andrew McCarthy What’s that unusual spot on the Moon? It’s the International Space Station. Using precise timing, the Earth-orbiting space platform was photographed in front of a partially lit gibbous Moon last month. The featured composite, taken from Payson, Arizona, USA last month, was intricately composed by combining, in part, many 1/2000-second images from […]

Iridescent by Moonlight

Copyright: Marcella Giulia Pace In this snapshot from November 18, the Full Moon was not far from Earth’s shadow. In skies over Sicily the brightest lunar phase was eclipsed by passing clouds though. The full moonlight was dimmed and momentarily diffracted by small but similar sized water droplets near the edges of the high thin […]

Comet Leonard and the Whale Galaxy

Copyright: Gregg Ruppel Sweeping through northern predawn skies, on November 24 Comet Leonard (C/2021 A1) was caught between two galaxies in this composite telescopic image. Sporting a greenish coma the comet’s dusty tail seems to harpoon the heart of NGC 4631 (top) also known as the Whale Galaxy. Of course NGC 4631 and NGC 4656 […]

NGC 6822: Barnard’s Galaxy

Copyright: Dietmar Hager Grand spiral galaxies often seem to get all the glory, flaunting their young, bright, blue star clusters in beautiful, symmetric spiral arms. But small galaxies form stars too, like nearby NGC 6822, also known as Barnard’s Galaxy. Beyond the rich starfields in the constellation Sagittarius, NGC 6822 is a mere 1.5 million […]

A Blue-Banded Blood Moon

Copyright: What causes a blue band to cross the Moon during a lunar eclipse? The blue band is real but usually quite hard to see. The featured HDR image of last week’s lunar eclipse, however — taken from Yancheng, China — has been digitally processed to equalize the Moon’s brightness and exaggerate the colors. The […]

In Motion: Uranus and Moons

Copyright: What’s that moving across the sky? A planet just a bit too faint to see with the unaided eye: Uranus. The gas giant out past Saturn was tracked earlier this month near opposition — when it was closest to Earth and at its brightest. The featured video captured by the Bayfordbury Observatory in Hertfordshire, […]

The Extraordinary Spiral in LL Pegasi

Copyright: Jonathan Lodge What created the strange spiral structure on the upper left? No one is sure, although it is likely related to a star in a binary star system entering the planetary nebula phase, when its outer atmosphere is ejected. The huge spiral spans about a third of a light year across and, winding […]

A High Cliff on Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Copyright: This high cliff occurs not on a planet, not on a moon, but on a comet. It was discovered to be part of the dark nucleus of Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko (CG) by Rosetta, a robotic spacecraft launched by ESA that rendezvoused with the Sun-orbiting comet in 2014. The ragged cliff, as featured here, was imaged […]

Great Refractor and Lunar Eclipse

Copyright: Laurie Hatch Rain clouds passed and the dome of the Lick Observatory’s 36 inch Great Refractor opened on November 19. The historic telescope was pointed toward a partially eclipsed Moon. Illuminated by dim red lighting to preserve an astronomer’s night vision, telescope controls, coordinate dials, and the refractor’s 57 foot long barrel were captured […]

At the Shadow’s Edge

Copyright: Jean-Francois Gout Shaped like a cone tapering into space, the Earth’s dark central shadow or umbra has a circular cross-section. It’s wider than the Moon at the distance of the Moon’s orbit though. But during the lunar eclipse of November 18/19, part of the Moon remained just outside the umbral shadow. The successive pictures […]

The Sun in X-rays from NuSTAR

Copyright: Why are the regions above sunspots so hot? Sunspots themselves are a bit cooler than the surrounding solar surface because the magnetic fields that create them reduce convective heating. It is therefore unusual that regions overhead — even much higher up in the Sun’s corona — can be hundreds of times hotter. To help […]

Lunar Eclipse over a Skyscraper

Copyright: Yuri BeletskyCarnegieLas Campanas ObservatoryTWAN Why is the Moon on top of this building? Planning. It took the astrophotographer careful planning — including figuring out exactly where to place the camera and exactly when to take the shot — to create this striking superposition. The single image featured was taken in the early morning hours […]