Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Quiet Lagoon

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a favorite observing target for my clear summer nights: Messier 8, the Lagoon Nebula, in the constellation of Sagittarius. This image goes well beyond the capabilities of our modest backyard instruments and focuses in on the center of the nebula.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Decisions...Decisions...

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day illustrates the ESA's quandry: where to land the Philae probe (currently being carried on Rosetta) on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Trails

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows star trails caused by a long-exposure of a camera. If you look down from those skies over Indonesia, there are a few terrestrial sights worth looking at as well.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Young Atlas

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the daughter of the photographer seemingly holding up both Jupiter and Venus in the night sky!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Observational Null

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows recent supernova SN 2014J in Messier 82 (a dwarf galaxy near the constellation of Ursa Major). The orbiting Chandra X-Ray Observatory looked for expected x-ray emissions from the supernova (as predicted by current theories). No x-rays! Time for a new theory?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Infalling Stars

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows a Perseid caught under the light of the Full Moon. Next year? New Moon! Dark skies!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Subtle Details

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day takes Messier 57, better known as the Ring Nebula (in the constellation of Lyra) and stacks images from several telescopes (and therefore several frequencies of light) into one. Suddenly the very familiar central "ring" becomes a much larger object as you see the bubbles of gas expanding outwards from the central star!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Collapse North of the Valley of the Mariners

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a wonderful image from the ESA's Mars Express orbiter. Have a look at a view that is almost unbelievable in its detail: a partial collapse of a mesa known as Hebes Mensa in the Hebes Chasma, slightly north of the Valles Marineris.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Cometary Vectors

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is a short video showing Rosetta's approach to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Another cosmic peanut!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Big Sky Keeps On Turning

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows the stars wheeling overhead, luminous foam and a protective lighthouse. Victoria Lake at night!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Spiral

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows NGC 6744 in the constellation of Pavo. Wonderful image showing the spiral structure!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Interesting Times

Rovers on Mars for more than a decade. Orbiters around Mars for even longer. An orbiter around Saturn. A probe approaching Pluto. Craft around Mercury, Venus, in the Belt, approaching Jupiter.

And now a probe about to orbit a comet and attempt to land something there.

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows us a view of Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko as the ESA's Rosetta probe makes a close approach.

Astounding stuff, folks.

War and Rumors of War

Fandom is at war! Fandom is divided!

Or is it?

Mountain, meet molehill. We have always "been at war" or rather: we've always talked. Make it into a mountain, but it is still a molehill. There have always been "factions" make it into a war if you want, but it isn't.

Dear Publisher, stop getting into politics and work on your books instead. Grow your market because at some point it's going to shrink when people get tired of the factionalism.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Cratered

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day is an artist conception of our blue world in the year Four Billion BCE. Looks a lot more like all the other moons and rocky planets of the system, doesn't it? Amazing what a little erosion and active geological processing can do to your looks.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Silhouette

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows Saturn's moon Enceladus. A dead moon? Hardly! Jets spewing water vapor are seen silhouetted against a dark background in this picture from the venerable (and still hardworking) Cassini orbiter.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Friday, August 1, 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Locals

Today's Astronomy Picture of the Day shows one of our nearest neighbors, on the extra-galactic scale: Messier 31, the Great Galaxy of Andromeda.