Astronomy Picture of the Day

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The dark spots in the above picture are not photographic defects but an unusual type of interstellar cloud known as a Bok globule. Bok globules, named after astronomer Bart Bok who studied them extensively, are small dark clouds made of gas and ...

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The odd looking "creature" to the right of center in the above photo is a gas cloud known as a cometary globule. This globule, however, has ruptured. Cometary globules are typically characterized by dusty heads and elongated tails. These ...

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Our Sun is really very hot. The Sun's outer atmosphere is so hot that it emits much light in the X-ray band, which was unexpected. X-rays are usually emitted from objects having a temperature in the millions of degrees, not the mere thousands of ...

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Mars has two tiny moons, Phobos and Deimos. Pictured above is Deimos, the smallest moon of Mars. In fact, Deimos is the smallest known moon in the Solar System measuring only 9 miles across. The diminutive Martian moons were discovered in 1877 by ...

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Mars, the red planet named for the Roman god of war, has two tiny moons, Phobos and Deimos, whose names are derived from the Greek for Fear and Panic. These Martian moons may well be captured asteroids originating in the asteroid belt between ...

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The pictured core of the galaxy NGC 253 shows an exceptionally high rate of star formation. In the center are some of the densest knots of stars ever found, surrounded by glowing gas and dust lanes. Galaxies where such high star formation rates ...

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The radio and optical emission seen in the above superposed images of the radio galaxy 3C368 indicate that energetic processes are at work. A radio galaxy is a galaxy that is visible to radio telescopes. A large radio signal usually indicates ...

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The International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) was launched by a NASA Delta rocket in 1978 to provide a space telescope for ultraviolet astronomy. A collaborative project among NASA, ESA and the British SRC (now PPARC) agencies, IUE's estimated ...

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This computer generated view of a Venusian volcano was created using data from NASA's Magellan spacecraft. Magellan used its onboard radar to map the surface of Venus which is hidden from telescopic observations by a perpetual cloud cover. Using ...

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This image is part of the first color panoramic view from Venus. It was transmitted by a TV camera on the Soviet Venera 13 lander which parachuted to the surface on March 1, 1982. Venus' clouds are composed of sulfuric acid droplets while its ...

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