Astronomy Picture of the Day

photo The Space Station Crosses a Spotless Sun

The Space Station Crosses a Spotless Sun

That's no sunspot. It's the International Space Station (ISS) caught passing in front of the Sun. Sunspots, individually, have a dark central umbra, a lighter surrounding penumbra, and no solar panels. By contrast, the ISS is a complex and ...

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photo Eagle Aurora over Norway

Eagle Aurora over Norway

What's that in the sky? An aurora. A large coronal mass ejection occurred on our Sun five days before this 2012 image was taken, throwing a cloud of fast moving electrons, protons, and ions toward the Earth. Although most of this cloud passed ...

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photo The Eagle Rises

The Eagle Rises

Get out your red/blue glasses and check out this stereo view from lunar orbit. The 3D anaglyph was created from two photographs (AS11-44-6633, AS11-44-6634) taken by astronaut Michael Collins during the 1969 Apollo 11 mission. It features the ...

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photo Magellanic Galaxy NGC 55

Magellanic Galaxy NGC 55

Irregular galaxy NGC 55 is thought to be similar to the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). But while the LMC is about 180,000 light-years away and a well-known satellite of our own Milky Way Galaxy, NGC 55 is more like 6 million light-years distant, a ...

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photo The Ghost of Jupiter's Halo

The Ghost of Jupiter's Halo

Close-up images of NGC 3242 show the cast off shroud of a dying, sun-like star fancifully known as The Ghost of Jupiter nebula. But this deep and wide telescopic view also finds the seldom seen outer halo of the beautiful planetary nebula at the ...

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photo 4000 Exoplanets

4000 Exoplanets

Over 4000 planets are now known to exist outside our Solar System. Known as exoplanets, this milestone was passed last month, as recorded by NASA's Exoplanet Archive. The featured video highlights these exoplanets in sound and light, starting ...

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photo Birds During a Total Solar Eclipse

Birds During a Total Solar Eclipse

What do birds do during a total solar eclipse? Darkness descends more quickly in a total eclipse than during sunset, but returns just as quickly -- and perhaps unexpectedly to the avians -- just a few minutes later. Stories about the unusual ...

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photo The Galactic Center in Radio from MeerKAT

The Galactic Center in Radio from MeerKAT

What's happening at the center of our galaxy? It's hard to tell with optical telescopes since visible light is blocked by intervening interstellar dust. In other bands of light, though, such as radio, the galactic center can be imaged and shows ...

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photo Crescent Saturn

Crescent Saturn

Saturn never shows a crescent phase -- from Earth. But when viewed from beyond, the majestic giant planet can show an unfamiliar diminutive sliver. This image of crescent Saturn in natural color was taken by the robotic Cassini spacecraft in ...

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photo 8 Minute and 30 Second Eclipse

8 Minute and 30 Second Eclipse

The total phase of the July 2nd solar eclipse lasted about 4 minutes and 30 seconds at the point of maximum eclipse. On the surface of planet Earth, that was about 600 nautical miles north of Easter Island in the Southern Pacific Ocean. But from ...

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