Astronomy Picture of the Day

photo The Great Nebula in Carina

The Great Nebula in Carina

What's happening in the center of the Carina Nebula? Stars are forming, dying, and leaving an impressive tapestry of dark dusty filaments. The entire Carina Nebula, cataloged as NGC 3372, spans over 300 light years and lies about 8,500 ...

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photo Virtual Flyby of the Whirlpool Galaxy

Virtual Flyby of the Whirlpool Galaxy

What would it look like to fly over a spiral galaxy? To help visualize this, astronomers and animators at the Space Telescope Science Institute computed a virtual flyby of the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51) using data and images from the Hubble Space ...

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photo Saturn, Titan, Rings, and Haze

Saturn, Titan, Rings, and Haze

This is not a solar eclipse. Pictured here is a busy vista of moons and rings taken at Saturn. The large circular object in the center of the image is Titan, the largest moon of Saturn and one of the most intriguing objects in the entire Solar ...

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photo Saturn and the Da Vinci Glow

Saturn and the Da Vinci Glow

On February 2nd early morning risers saw Saturn near an old Moon low on the eastern horizon. On that date bright planet, sunlit crescent, and faint lunar night side were captured in this predawn skyscape from Bursa, Turkey. Of course the Moon's ...

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photo Clouds of the Large Magellanic Cloud

Clouds of the Large Magellanic Cloud

The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is an alluring sight in southern skies. But this deep and detailed telescopic view, over 10 months in the making, goes beyond what is visible to most circumnavigators of planet Earth. Spanning over 5 degrees or 10 ...

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photo Manicouagan Impact Crater from Space

Manicouagan Impact Crater from Space

Orbiting 400 kilometers above Quebec, Canada, planet Earth, the International Space Station Expedition 59 crew captured this snapshot of the broad St. Lawrence River and curiously circular Lake Manicouagan on April 11. Right of center, the ...

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photo The Cat's Eye Nebula in Optical and X-ray

The Cat's Eye Nebula in Optical and X-ray

To some it looks like a cat's eye. To others, perhaps like a giant cosmic conch shell. It is actually one of brightest and most highly detailed planetary nebula known, composed of gas expelled in the brief yet glorious phase near the end of life ...

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photo Meteor Misses Galaxy

Meteor Misses Galaxy

The galaxy was never in danger. For one thing, the Triangulum galaxy (M33), pictured, is much bigger than the tiny grain of rock at the head of the meteor. For another, the galaxy is much farther away -- in this instance 3 million light years as ...

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photo N11: Star Clouds of the LMC

N11: Star Clouds of the LMC

Massive stars, abrasive winds, mountains of dust, and energetic light sculpt one of the largest and most picturesque regions of star formation in the Local Group of Galaxies. Known as N11, the region is visible on the upper right of many images ...

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photo All of Mercury

All of Mercury

Only six years ago, the entire surface of planet Mercury was finally mapped. Detailed observations of the innermost planet's surprising crust began when the robotic have been ongoing since the robotic MESSENGER spacecraft first passed Mercury in ...

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