Astronomy Picture of the Day

zdjęcie Reflections on vdB 9

Reflections on vdB 9

Centered in a well-composed celestial still life, pretty, blue vdB 9 is the 9th object in Sidney van den Bergh's 1966 catalog of reflection nebulae. It shares this telescopic field of view, about twice the size of a full moon on the sky, with ...

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zdjęcie Doomed Star Eta Carinae

Doomed Star Eta Carinae

Carinae may be about to explode. But no one knows when - it may be next year, it may be one million years from now. Eta Carinae's mass - about 100 times greater than our Sun - makes it an excellent candidate for a full blown supernova. ...

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zdjęcie Comet Iwamoto Before Spiral Galaxy NGC 2903

Comet Iwamoto Before Spiral Galaxy NGC 2903

It isn't every night that a comet passes a galaxy. Last Thursday, though, binocular comet C/2018 Y1 (Iwamoto) moved nearly in front of a spiral galaxy of approximately the same brightness: NGC 2903. Comet Iwamoto was discovered late last year and ...

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zdjęcie Dragon Aurora over Iceland

Dragon Aurora over Iceland

Have you ever seen a dragon in the sky? Although real flying dragons don't exist, a huge dragon-shaped aurora developed in the sky over Iceland earlier this month. The aurora was caused by a hole in the Sun's corona that expelled charged ...

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zdjęcie Shadow of a Martian Robot

Shadow of a Martian Robot

What if you saw your shadow on Mars and it wasn't human? Then you might be the Opportunity rover currently exploring Mars. Opportunity explored the red planet from 2004 to 2018, finding evidence of ancient water, and sending breathtaking images ...

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zdjęcie NGC 2359: Thor's Helmet

NGC 2359: Thor's Helmet

NGC 2359 is a helmet-shaped cosmic cloud with wing-like appendages popularly called Thor's Helmet. Heroically sized even for a Norse god, Thor's Helmet is about 30 light-years across. In fact, the helmet is more like an interstellar bubble, blown ...

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zdjęcie Opportunity at Perseverance Valley

Opportunity at Perseverance Valley

Opportunity had already reached Perseverance Valley by June of 2018. Its view is reconstructed in a colorized mosaic of images taken by the Mars Exploration Rover's Navcam. In fact, Perseverance Valley is an appropriate name for the destination. ...

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zdjęcie Solar System Family Portait

Solar System Family Portait

On Valentine's Day in 1990, cruising four billion miles from the Sun, the Voyager 1 spacecraft looked back one last time to make this first ever Solar System family portrait. The complete portrait is a 60 frame mosaic made from a vantage point 32 ...

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zdjęcie The Helix Nebula in Hydrogen and Oxygen

The Helix Nebula in Hydrogen and Oxygen

Is the Helix Nebula looking at you? No, not in any biological sense, but it does look quite like an eye. The Helix Nebula is so named because it also appears that you are looking down the axis of a helix. In actuality, it is now understood to ...

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zdjęcie Plane Crossing a Crescent Moon

Plane Crossing a Crescent Moon

No, this is not a good way to get to the Moon. What is pictured is a chance superposition of an airplane and the Moon. The contrail would normally appear white, but the large volume of air toward the setting Sun preferentially knocks away blue ...

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