Astronomy Picture of the Day

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What hit Mars? The impact crater Schiparelli near the center of the above image was likely caused by a collision with an object the size of an asteroid. Also evident in this full face mosaic of Mars are numerous craters from many other impacts ...

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What is our Galaxy made of? Stellar motions indicate there is much more mass than just stars and gas. Photographs like the two shown above may be yielding a clue about the dark matter, however. Pictured is the first recorded instance of a dim ...

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What is the shape and composition of our Milky Way Galaxy? This question would be easier to answer if there wasn't so much obscuring dust! In the 1940s, however, astronomer Walter Baade identified a "window" near the center of our Galaxy where ...

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Do many Sun-like stars have planets? Speculation on this point has been ongoing since humanity's realization that other stars existed. Only in the past year, however, have answers and discoveries been realized. The above plot summarizes the four ...

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The star 70 Virginis has a planet. This recent discovery is the second known case of a planet orbiting a normal star other than our Sun itself. The first case involved 51 Pegasi and was announced last year. The star 70 Vir, shown in the center of ...

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The dramatic and mysterious looking object revealed in this Hubble Space Telescope image is known as the Egg Nebula. It is an aging star about 3,000 lightyears distant, entering its Planetary Nebula phase of evolution. Surrounded by an expanding ...

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In December of 1993 astronauts Story Musgrave and Jeffrey Hoffman performed the orbiting repairmans' ballet 400 miles above the Earth. They are seen in this photo perched at the end of the Space Shuttle Endeavour's robotic arm making final ...

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The large majestic Lagoon Nebula is home for many young stars and hot gas. The Lagoon Nebulae is so large and bright it can be seen without a telescope. Formed only several million years ago in the nebula is the open cluster known as NGC 6530, ...

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Meteor showers are caused by streams of solid particles, dust size and larger, moving as a group through space. In many cases, the orbits of these meteor streams can be identified with the dust tails of comets. When the Earth passes through the ...

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This carrot shaped track is actually little more than 5 hundredths of an inch long. It is the trail of a meteroid through a gel exposed to space in low earth orbit by the shuttle launched EURECA (European Recoverable Carrier) spacecraft. The ...

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