Astronomy Picture of the Day

photo Cygnus Skyscape

Cygnus Skyscape

In brush strokes of interstellar dust and glowing hydrogen gas, this beautiful skyscape is painted across the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy near the northern end of the Great Rift and the constellation Cygnus the Swan. Composed with three ...

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photo Zodiacal Road

Zodiacal Road

What's that strange light down the road? Dust orbiting the Sun. At certain times of the year, a band of sun-reflecting dust from the inner Solar System appears prominently just after sunset -- or just before sunrise -- and is called zodiacal ...

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photo M82: Galaxy with a Supergalactic Wind

M82: Galaxy with a Supergalactic Wind

Why is the Cigar Galaxy billowing red smoke? M82, as this starburst galaxy is also known, was stirred up by a recent pass near large spiral galaxy M81. This doesn't fully explain the source of the red-glowing outwardly expanding gas and dust, ...

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photo HDR: Earth's Circular Shadow on the Moon

HDR: Earth's Circular Shadow on the Moon

What could create such a large circular shadow on the Moon? The Earth. Last week's full Moon -- the Buck Moon -- was so full that it fell almost exactly in a line with the Sun and the Earth. When that happens the Earth casts its shadow onto the ...

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photo Moonquakes Surprisingly Common

Moonquakes Surprisingly Common

Why are there so many moonquakes? Analyses of seismometers left on the moon by the Apollo moon landings reveals a surprising number of moonquakes occurring within 100 kilometers of the surface. In fact, 62 moonquakes were detected in data ...

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photo Apollo 11 Landing Panorama

Apollo 11 Landing Panorama

Have you seen a panorama from another world lately? Assembled from high-resolution scans of the original film frames, this one sweeps across the magnificent desolation of the Apollo 11 landing site on the Moon's Sea of Tranquility. The images ...

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photo Tranquility Base Panorama

Tranquility Base Panorama

On July 20, 1969 the Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle safely touched down on the Moon. It landed near the southwestern corner of the Moon's Mare Tranquillitatis at a landing site dubbed Tranquility Base. This panoramic view of Tranquility Base was ...

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photo Shadowed Moon and Mountain

Shadowed Moon and Mountain

On July 16 the Moon celebrated the 50th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11 with a lunar eclipse visible from much of planet Earth. In this view part of the lunar disk is immersed in Earth's dark, reddened umbral shadow. Near the maximum ...

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photo Apollo 11: Descent to the Moon

Apollo 11: Descent to the Moon

It had never been done before. But with the words "You're Go for landing", 50 years ago this Saturday, Apollo 11 astronauts Aldrin and Armstrong were cleared to make the first try. The next few minutes would contain more than a bit of drama, as ...

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photo Apollo 11 Launches Humans to the Moon

Apollo 11 Launches Humans to the Moon

verybody saw the Moon. Nobody had ever been there. Humans across planet Earth watched in awe 50 years ago today as a powerful Saturn V rocket attempted to launch humans -- to the Moon. Some in space flight guessed that the machinery was so ...

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