Astronomy Picture of the Day

Martian Moon Phobos from Mars Express

Why is Phobos so dark? Phobos, the largest and innermost of two Martian moons, is the darkest moon in the entire Solar System. Its unusual orbit and color indicate that it may be a captured asteroid composed of a mixture of ice and dark rock. ...

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The Hercules Cluster of Galaxies

These are galaxies of the Hercules Cluster, an archipelago of island universes a mere 500 million light-years away. Also known as Abell 2151, this cluster is loaded with gas and dust rich, star-forming spiral galaxies but has relatively few ...

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Moon over ISS

Completing one orbit of our fair planet in 90 minutes the International Space Station can easily be spotted by eye as a very bright star moving through the night sky. Have you seen it? The next time you do, you will have recognized the location ...

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North of Orion's Belt

Bright stars, interstellar clouds of dust and glowing nebulae fill this cosmic scene, a skyscape just north of Orion's belt. Close to the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy, the wide field view spans just under 5 degrees or about 10 full moons on the ...

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Fifty Gravitational Wave Events Illustrated

Over fifty gravitational wave events have now been detected. These events mark the distant, violent collisions of two black holes, a black hole and a neutron star, or two neutron stars. Most of the 50 events were detected in 2019 by the LIGO ...

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Tagging Bennu: The Movie

This is what it looks like to punch an asteroid. Last month, NASA's robotic spacecraft OSIRIS-REx descended toward, thumped into, and then quickly moved away from the small near-Earth asteroid 101955 Bennu. The featured video depicts the ...

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Half Sun with Prominence

What's happening to the Sun? Clearly, the Sun's lower half is hidden behind a thick cloud. Averaging over the entire Earth, clouds block the Sun about 2/3rds of the time, although much less over many land locations. On the Sun's upper right is a ...

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In the Center of the Trifid Nebula

What's happening at the center of the Trifid Nebula? Three prominent dust lanes that give the Trifid its name all come together. Mountains of opaque dust appear near the bottom, while other dark filaments of dust are visible threaded throughout ...

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A Galaxy of Horrors

re extreme and terrifying realms of the Universe tonight. If you dare to look, mysterious dark matter, a graveyard galaxy, zombie worlds, and gamma-ray bursts of doom are not all that awaits. Just follow the link and remember, it's all based on ...

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Fear and Dread: The Moons of Mars

On Halloween fear and dread will stalk your night skies, also known as Phobos and Deimos the moons of Mars. The 2020 opposition of Mars was on October 13, so the Red Planet will still rise shortly after sunset. Near Halloween's Full Moon on the ...

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