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The Changing Ion Tail of Comet Pons-Brooks

Copyright: Shengyu Li & Shaining How does a comet tail change? It depends on the comet. The ion tail of Comet 12P/Pons–Brooks has been changing markedly, as detailed in the featured image sequenced over nine days from March 6 to 14 (top to bottom). On some days, the comet’s ion tail was relatively long and […]

A Total Solar Eclipse over Wyoming

Copyright: Ben Cooper Will the sky be clear enough to see the eclipse? This question is already on the minds of many North Americans hoping to see tomorrow’s solar eclipse. This question was also on the mind of many people attempting to see the total solar eclipse that crossed North America in August 2017. Then, […]

Unwinding M51

Copyright: Hubble Heritage Project The arms of a grand design spiral galaxy 60,000 light-years across are unwound in this digital transformation of the magnificent 2005 Hubble Space Telescope portrait of M51. In fact, M51 is one of the original spiral nebulae, its winding arms described by a mathematical curve known as a logarithmic spiral, a […]

The Solar Corona Unwrapped

Copyright: Barden Ridge Observatory Changes in the alluring solar corona are detailed in this creative composite image mapping the dynamic outer atmosphere of the Sun during two separate total solar eclipses. Unwrapped from the complete circle of the eclipsed Sun’s edge to a rectangle and mirrored, the entire solar corona is shown during the 2017 […]

Comet Pons-Brooks at Night

Copyright: Dan Bartlett In dark evening skies over June Lake, northern hemisphere, planet Earth, Comet 12P/Pons-Brooks stood just above the western horizon on March 30. Its twisted turbulent ion tail and diffuse greenish coma are captured in this two degree wide telescopic field of view along with bright yellowish star Hamal also known as Alpha […]

Unusual Nebula Pa 30

Copyright: What created this unusual celestial firework? The nebula, dubbed Pa 30, appears in the same sky direction now as a bright “guest star” did in the year 1181. Although Pa 30’s filaments look similar to that created by a nova (for example GK Per), and a planetary nebula (for example NGC 6751), some astronomers […]

Detailed View of a Solar Eclipse Corona

Copyright: Phil Hart Only in the fleeting darkness of a total solar eclipse is the light of the solar corona easily visible. Normally overwhelmed by the bright solar disk, the expansive corona, the sun’s outer atmosphere, is an alluring sight. But the subtle details and extreme ranges in the corona’s brightness, although discernible to the […]

Swirling Magnetic Field around Our Galaxy’s Central Black Hole

Copyright: What’s happening to the big black hole in the center of our galaxy? It is sucking in matter from a swirling disk — a disk that is magnetized, it has now been confirmed. Specifically, the black hole’s accretion disk has recently been seen to emit polarized light, radiation frequently associated with a magnetized source. […]

Total Solar Eclipse Below the Bottom of the World

Copyright: Petr Horálek (ESO Photo Ambassador, Inst. of Physics in Opava) ; Acknowledgement: Xavier Jubier In late 2021 there was a total solar eclipse visible only at the end of the Earth. To capture the unusual phenomenon, airplanes took flight below the clouded seascape of Southern Ocean. The featured image shows one relatively spectacular capture […]

Medieval Astronomy from Melk Abbey

Copyright: Library of Melk Abbey, Frag. 229 Discovered by accident, this manuscript page provides graphical insight to astronomy in medieval times, before the Renaissance and the influence of Nicolaus Copernicus, Tycho de Brahe, Johannes Kepler, and Galileo. The intriguing page is from lecture notes on astronomy compiled by the monk Magister Wolfgang de Styria before […]

Galileo’s Europa

Copyright: Looping through the Jovian system in the late 1990s, the Galileo spacecraft recorded stunning views of Europa and uncovered evidence that the moon’s icy surface likely hides a deep, global ocean. Galileo’s Europa image data has been remastered here, with improved calibrations to produce a color image approximating what the human eye might see. […]

Millions of Stars in Omega Centauri

Copyright: Massimo Di Fusco Globular star cluster Omega Centauri, also known as NGC 5139, is 15,000 light-years away. The cluster is packed with about 10 million stars much older than the Sun within a volume about 150 light-years in diameter. It’s the largest and brightest of 200 or so known globular clusters that roam the […]

The Coma Cluster of Galaxies

Copyright: Joe Hua Almost every object in the featured photograph is a galaxy. The Coma Cluster of Galaxies pictured here is one of the densest clusters known – it contains thousands of galaxies. Each of these galaxies houses billions of stars – just as our own Milky Way Galaxy does. Although nearby when compared to […]

Comet Pons-Brooks’ Ion Tail

Copyright: Comet Pons-Brooks has quite a tail to tell. First discovered in 1385, this erupting dirty snowball loops back into our inner Solar System every 71 years and, this time, is starting to put on a show for deep camera exposures. In the featured picture, the light blue stream is the ion tail which consists […]

Sonified: The Jellyfish Nebula Supernova Remnant

Copyright: What does a supernova remnant sound like? Although sound is a compression wave in matter and does not carry into empty space, interpretive sound can help listeners appreciate and understand a visual image of a supernova remnant in a new way. Recently, the Jellyfish Nebula (IC 443) has been sonified quite creatively. In the […]