Astronomy Picture of the Day

photo Places for OSIRIS-REx to Touch Asteroid Bennu

Places for OSIRIS-REx to Touch Asteroid Bennu

Where is the best place to collect a surface sample from asteroid Bennu? Launched in 2016, NASA sent the robotic Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) to investigate the ...

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photo Solstice Illuminated: A Year of Sky

Solstice Illuminated: A Year of Sky

Can you find which day is the winter solstice? Each panel shows one day. With 360 movie panels, the sky over (almost) an entire year is shown in time lapse format as recorded by a video camera on the roof of the Exploratorium museum in San ...

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photo Solstice to Solstice Solargraph Timelapse

Solstice to Solstice Solargraph Timelapse

The 2019 December Solstice, on the first day of winter in planet Earth's northern hemisphere and summer in the south, is at 4:19 Universal Time December 22. That's December 21 for North America, though. Celebrate with a timelapse animation of the ...

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photo Late Afternoon on Mars

Late Afternoon on Mars

Shadows grow long near sunset in this wide panoramic view from the Curiosity rover on Mars. Made with Curiosity's navcam, the scene covers about 200 degrees from north through east to south (left to right), stitched together from frames taken by ...

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photo Apollo 17's Moonship

Apollo 17's Moonship

Awkward and angular looking, Apollo 17's lunar module Challenger was designed for flight in the near vacuum of space. Digitally enhanced and reprocessed, this picture taken from Apollo 17's command module America shows Challenger's ascent stage ...

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photo A Hotspot Map of Neutron Star J0030's Surface

A Hotspot Map of Neutron Star J0030's Surface

What do neutron stars look like? Previously these city-sized stars were too small and too far away to resolve. Recently, however, the first maps of the locations and sizes of hotspots on a neutron star's surface have been made by carefully ...

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photo The Horsehead Nebula

The Horsehead Nebula

Sculpted by stellar winds and radiation, a magnificent interstellar dust cloud by chance has assumed this recognizable shape. Fittingly named the Horsehead Nebula, it is some 1,500 light-years distant, embedded in the vast Orion cloud complex. ...

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photo The Magnetic Fields of Spiral Galaxy M77

The Magnetic Fields of Spiral Galaxy M77

Can magnetic fields help tell us how spiral galaxies form and evolve? To find out, the HAWC+ instrument on NASA's airborne (747) SOFIA observatory observed nearby spiral galaxy M77. HAWC+ maps magnetism by observing polarized infrared light ...

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photo Mammatus Clouds over Nebraska

Mammatus Clouds over Nebraska

When do cloud bottoms appear like bubbles? Normally, cloud bottoms are flat. This is because moist warm air that rises and cools will condense into water droplets at a specific temperature, which usually corresponds to a very specific height. As ...

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photo Interstellar Comet 2I/Borisov

Interstellar Comet 2I/Borisov

From somewhere else in the Milky Way galaxy, Comet 2I/Borisov is just visiting the Solar System. Discovered by Crimean amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov on August 30, 2019, the first known interstellar comet is captured in these two recent ...

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