Astronomy Picture of the Day

photo A Scorpius Sky Spectacular

A Scorpius Sky Spectacular

If Scorpius looked this good to the unaided eye, humans might remember it better. Scorpius more typically appears as a few bright stars in a well-known but rarely pointed out zodiacal constellation. To get a spectacular image like this, though, ...

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photo ISS from Wallasey

ISS from Wallasey

After sunset on March 28, the International Space Station climbed above the western horizon, as seen from Wallasey, England at the mouth of the River Mersey. Still glinting in the sunlight some 400 kilometers above planet Earth, the fast moving ...

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photo Pan-STARRS Across the Sky

Pan-STARRS Across the Sky

This astronomical sky spanning view is a mosaic from the Pan-STARRS observatory. The images were recorded with its 1.8 meter telescope at the summit of Haleakala on planet Earth's island of Maui. In fact, Earth's north celestial pole is centered ...

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photo Messier 2

Messier 2

After the Crab Nebula, M1, this giant star cluster is the second entry in 18th century astronomer Charles Messier's famous list of things with are not comets. M2 is one of the largest globular star clusters now known to roam the halo of our Milky ...

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photo Wisps Surrounding the Horsehead Nebula

Wisps Surrounding the Horsehead Nebula

The famous Horsehead Nebula in Orion is not alone. A deep exposure shows that the dark familiar shaped indentation, visible just below center, is part of a vast complex of absorbing dust and glowing gas. To bring out details of the Horsehead's ...

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photo Space Station Silhouette on the Moon

Space Station Silhouette on the Moon

What's that unusual spot on the Moon? It's the International Space Station. Using precise timing, the Earth-orbiting space platform was photographed in front of a partially lit gibbous Moon last month. The featured image was taken from Palo Alto, ...

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photo Astronaut Kicks Lunar Field Goal

Astronaut Kicks Lunar Field Goal

Score three points for NASA. With time running out late in Apollo 15's mission to the Moon in 1971, Astronaut David Scott prepared to split the uprights and bring about yet another dramatic end-of-the-mission victory for NASA. Scott used a ...

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photo Markarian's Chain of Galaxies

Markarian's Chain of Galaxies

Across the heart of the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies lies a striking string of galaxies known as Markarian's Chain. The chain, pictured here, is highlighted on the right with two large but featureless lenticular galaxies, M84 and M86. Prominent to ...

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photo 3D 67P

3D 67P

Put on your red/cyan glasses and float next to the jagged and double-lobed nucleus of Churyumov-Gerasimenko, also known as Comet 67P. The stereo anaglyph was created by combining two images from the Rosetta spacecraft's narrow angle OSIRIS camera ...

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photo M104: The Sombrero Galaxy

M104: The Sombrero Galaxy

The striking spiral galaxy M104 is famous for its nearly edge-on profile featuring a broad ring of obscuring dust lanes. Seen in silhouette against an extensive central bulge of stars, the swath of cosmic dust lends a broad brimmed hat-like ...

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