Astronomy Picture of the Day

M16: Inside the Eagle Nebula

From afar, the whole thing looks like an Eagle. A closer look at the Eagle Nebula, however, shows the bright region is actually a window into the center of a larger dark shell of dust. Through this window, a brightly-lit workshop appears where ...

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Cosmic Latte: The Average Color of the Universe

What color is the universe? More precisely, if the entire sky were smeared out, what color would the final mix be? This whimsical question came up when trying to determine what stars are commonplace in nearby galaxies. The answer, depicted ...

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Fox Fur, Unicorn, and Christmas Tree

Clouds of glowing hydrogen gas fill this colorful skyscape in the faint but fanciful constellation Monoceros, the Unicorn. A star forming region cataloged as NGC 2264, the complex jumble of cosmic gas and dust is about 2,700 light-years distant ...

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Northern Winter Night

Orion always seems to come up sideways on northern winter evenings. Those familiar stars of the constellation of the Hunter are caught above the trees in this colorful night skyscape. Not a star at all but still visible to eye, the Great Nebula ...

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Portrait of NGC 1055

Big, beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 1055 is a dominant member of a small galaxy group a mere 60 million light-years away toward the aquatically intimidating constellation Cetus. Seen edge-on, the island universe spans over 100,000 light-years, a ...

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Jupiter Meets Saturn: A Red Spotted Great Conjunction

It was time for their close-up. Last week Jupiter and Saturn passed a tenth of a degree from each other in what is known a Great Conjunction. Although the two planets pass each other on the sky every 20 years, this was the closest pass in nearly ...

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Trifid Pillars and Jets

Dust pillars are like interstellar mountains. They survive because they are more dense than their surroundings, but they are being slowly eroded away by a hostile environment. Visible in the featured picture is the end of a huge gas and dust ...

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Solstice: Sunrises Around the Year

Does the Sun always rise in the same direction? No. As the months change, the direction toward the rising Sun changes, too. The featured image shows the direction of sunrise every month during 2019 as seen from near the city of Amman, Jordan. ...

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A Volcanic Great Conjunction

Where can I see the Great Conjunction? Near where the Sun just set. Directionally, this close passing of Jupiter and Saturn will be toward the southwest. Since the planetary pair, the Sun, and the Earth are nearly in a geometric straight line, ...

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Conjunction after Sunset

How close will Jupiter and Saturn be at their Great Conjunction? Consider this beautiful triple conjunction of Moon, Jupiter and Saturn captured through clouds in the wintry twilight. The telephoto view looks toward the western horizon and the ...

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