Astronomy Picture of the Day

photo The Fainting of Betelgeuse

The Fainting of Betelgeuse

Begirt with many a blazing star, Orion the Hunter is one of the most recognizable constellations. In this night skyscape the Hunter's stars rise in the northern hemisphere's winter sky on December 30, 2019, tangled in bare trees near Newnan, ...

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photo Betelgeuse Imagined

Betelgeuse Imagined

Why is Betelgeuse fading? No one knows. Betelgeuse, one of the brightest and most recognized stars in the night sky, is only half as bright as it used to be only five months ago. Such variability is likely just normal behavior for this ...

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photo M33: The Triangulum Galaxy

M33: The Triangulum Galaxy

The small, northern constellation Triangulum harbors this magnificent face-on spiral galaxy, M33. Its popular names include the Pinwheel Galaxy or just the Triangulum Galaxy. M33 is over 50,000 light-years in diameter, third largest in the Local ...

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photo Messier 20 and 21

Messier 20 and 21

The beautiful Trifid Nebula, also known as Messier 20, is easy to find with a small telescope in the nebula rich constellation Sagittarius. About 5,000 light-years away, the colorful study in cosmic contrasts shares this well-composed, nearly 1 ...

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photo Cassini Spacecraft Crosses Saturn's Ring Plane

Cassini Spacecraft Crosses Saturn's Ring Plane

If this is Saturn, where are the rings? When Saturn's "appendages" disappeared in 1612, Galileo did not understand why. Later that century, it became understood that Saturn's unusual protrusions were rings and that when the Earth crosses the ...

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photo A Distorted Sunrise Eclipse

A Distorted Sunrise Eclipse

Yes, but have you ever seen a sunrise like this? Here, after initial cloudiness, the Sun appeared to rise in two pieces and during partial eclipse, causing the photographer to describe it as the most stunning sunrise of his life. The dark ...

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photo A Partial Solar Eclipse Sequence Reflected

A Partial Solar Eclipse Sequence Reflected

What's happened to the Sun? Yesterday, if you were in the right place at the right time, you could see the Sun rise partially eclipsed by the Moon. The unusual sight was captured in dramatic fashion in the featured image not only directly, in a ...

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photo The Northern Winter Hexagon

The Northern Winter Hexagon

December's New Moon brought a solar eclipse to some for the holiday season. It also gave beautiful dark night skies to skygazers around the globe, like this moonless northern winter night. In the scene, bright stars of the Winter Hexagon along ...

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photo An Annular Solar Eclipse over New Mexico

An Annular Solar Eclipse over New Mexico

What is this person doing? In 2012 an annular eclipse of the Sun was visible over a narrow path that crossed the northern Pacific Ocean and several western US states. In an annular solar eclipse, the Moon is too far from the Earth to block out ...

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photo A Northern Winter Sky Panorama

A Northern Winter Sky Panorama

What stars shine in Earth's northern hemisphere during winter? The featured image highlights a number of bright stars visible earlier this month. The image is a 360-degree horizontal-composite panorama of 66 vertical frames taken consecutively ...

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